Foreclosures during the Great Recession added to thousands of blighted properties in Columbus. But, a state program helped fund demolition of many of those houses and apartment units.
Schoolmates, Neighbors Remember Young Fire Victims
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Cause is undetermined in a week-end fire that took the lives of two young sisters.Â The children, aged 7 and 5 attended Sedalia Elementary School in the Groveport Madison district.Â Today, both the school and the children’s neighbors are mourning the loss of the young lives.
In front of the apartment building on Grosse Point Drive on the city’s southeast side a makeshift memorial of teddy bears and candles marks the loss of 7 year old Treasure Mi Windom-Harris and her 5 year old sister, Tomarra Renee Hackett.
Contractor Mark Steele secured the apartment, boarded the windows, and cleaned up the charred debris.
“Well, its one of the worst fires I’ve seen in the 27 years I’ve been doing fires. Its the third fatality that we’ve had. It makes it kind of hard to work a fire, especially when a child’s lost.”Â Says Steele.
As wheelbarrows full of debris were loaded into a dump truck, the victim’s uncle, Marcus Shirley remembered his nieces.
“They were very, very good kids. Got along with the kids in the neighborhood. They were very, very lovable kids. It wasn’t hard to tell them things, you know. They listen very good. I miss them very much.”
The young victims are also missed at their school, Sedalia Elementary, where counselor Tori Vazquez monitored reactions among Treasure Mi’s and Tomarra Renee’s classmates.
“I think the younger the child, we like to spend some time talking about what does itÂ mean when somebody dies, in really basic terms almost like you would study in a science class like living things need food and water. Living things move. Well when you die you don’t do any of those things anymore.”
Vazquez says in the past some people made the mistake of saying ‘well, this person just went to sleep’ and she says some children get scared to go to sleep after they hear that.