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Two siblings die in Henderson house fire

Posted November 10, 2009

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— Fire investigators believe a space heater might have started a fire that killed a 12-year-old girl and her 1-year-old brother Monday night at their Henderson home.

The official cause, however, has not been determined, Henderson Fire Chief Danny Wilkerson said Tuesday.

Family, friends mourn siblings killed in blaze Family, friends mourn siblings killed in blaze

The blaze began around 9:40 p.m. in a back bedroom at 132 S. Elizabeth St. The two children were trapped in the room, and firefighters were unable to reach them, authorities said.

Their grandmother, Fannie Lewis, identified the girl as Abria Lewis and the boy as Joshua Chase Lewis.

Their 16-year-old brother escaped the fire, and Bernice Davis, who lives next door, said her son rescued a fourth sibling, a 9-year-old boy.

The parents, identified as Ayana and June Lewis III, had left the home briefly to go to the store, family members said. Investigators said it is unlikely any charges will be filed.

Davis said the 16-year-old told her he that was getting out of the shower when he saw smoke filling the house. He ran barefoot and screaming for help, she said.

His parents arrived shortly after, and firefighters had to restrain the father from going into the house to try to save his children, neighbors said.

The State Bureau of Investigation and the Henderson Arson Task Force are looking into the fire.

Meanwhile Tuesday, family members and friends said they are trying to cope with their loss.

"I wish it had been me instead of them," Fannie Lewis said. "I just can't believe it happened."

At Henderson Middle School, where Abria was a seventh-grade honor-roll student, classmates wrote messages to try to help comfort the family. Students also plan to wear Abria's favorite colors, purple and green, to school Thursday.

Eight-year-old Dominique Lewis said Abria, her cousin, was her best friend.

"It hurt real bad," she said. "When I first found out, I didn't know what in the world to do."

Adults said it wasn't any easier for them.

"When you lose a child, you don't ever get over it," said Queen Hawkins, a great aunt of the victims. "The only thing you can do is just pray that the Lord will strengthen you in your weakness."


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  • awilliamson623 Nov 11, 2009

    I taught Abria in the 1st grade, and she was such a smart, sweet little girl. I also taught her younger brother(who was rescued). He is a smart, sweet little boy as well. They are such a sweet, loving family. The parents were at school often, eating with the kids, serving as PTA Treasurer, etc. I am heartbroken that this has happened. May God give them strength during this hard time. Please remember them in your prayers.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 10, 2009

    NH, don't see all of the people praying here? The relevance of "no gods helped these dead children" is in the irony of these prayers to the same gods...who failed to act. (Of course, someone has now taken upon themselves to report & delete my original comment, so your majority rule can continue unimpeded)

    And besides, we have more in common than you think. You only believe in one less god than I do...when you understand why you dismiss all others, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

  • SweetB Nov 10, 2009

    too sad. so sorry.

  • wildcat Nov 10, 2009

    May God continue to be with this family in their loss. My condolences to the family.

  • digitaldarth Nov 10, 2009

    The father is one of the finest men I know. A truly Godly man in an ungodly world. His pain is raw and real. Please lift he and his family up at this difficult time.

  • gordonbabe Nov 10, 2009

    Oh I hope this was accidental. Even so I feel for the older boy and the parents as they would feel responsible.

    God rest the souls of the lost.

  • carousel mom Nov 10, 2009

    My prayers and sincere condolences to the family. I know June thru my work and he is an outstanding individual and devout father. He is always talking about his children and would just beam with joy for them. I cannot imagine what he is going thru right now. May God's peace be with the Lewis family.

  • FromClayton Nov 10, 2009

    oh. poor 16 year old....

  • NH Nov 10, 2009

    hereandnow99: I guess the confusion is why you felt the need to say it. There are no "gods", only one and He is not a magic charm that we we go to in order to make things "alright". It's free will and free choice and things happen...like fires and car accidents, and disease. The point isn't what happened and blaming God for not hearing, the point is what happens after, no matter the outcome. It's called faith and you seem to have chosen yours and I have chosen mine. I got what you said, just didn't quite get why you felt the need to say it in this particular case. I'm sorry you feel the way you do; I really am.

  • Eduardo1 Nov 10, 2009

    For the nay-sayers, even in tragedy, you can not avoid saying senseless things. Comments about a 16 year old baby-sitting is a classic. I was baby-sitting when I was 13. Children in our Church 13 & up, are listed in the Church Newsletters as sitters, and hired! "they would have survived with smoke detectors" do you have information that there were none? So nay-sayers, clasp your hands together and pray for the deceased, the parents, and this young 16 year old. The deceased are now in gods hands and the survivors, have to live with a lifetime of a BLAMELESS loss of children & siblings
    lets us say AMEN