Community Donates For Families Displaced By Gesner Street Fire

Community Donates For Families Displaced By Gesner Street Fire

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SOUTHWEST PHILADELPHIA-Fire officials continue to investigate the cause of a fire that took the lives of four young children in Southwest Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, the emotions of a damaged neighborhood remain raw more than 24 hours later.

Many residents returned to the block for the first time since Saturday morning's tragic fire.

Seeing the aftermath of the destruction has not been easy.

“Heartbreaking, very heartbreaking. I think more heartbreaking because I felt that the house that the four children died in was right next door to mine," Lillian Rodriguez said.

Four porcelain angels don't begin to tell the loss felt on the 6500 block of Gesner Street.

But the ugliness of the burned out row homes has created a thing of beauty within the community.

Complete strangers donated food, water, clothing and other needed supplies for the nine displaced families at Christ International Baptist Church around the corner.

“Like everyone in Philadelphia we heard about the tragedy and it just broke everybody’s heart and we just feel for the kids that died, the families that lost everything so we thought we’d bring something down," Joyce Haines said.

For Harriet Jallah her giving is much more personal.

“I’ve got to stand for my sister because if I don’t stand for her, she can’t stand right now she can’t even do nothing so I got to make sure I can help," she said.

Jallah lived in one of the destroyed homes, with her nephews, 4-year-old Patrick Sanyeah and one month old Taj Jaque, who died in the fire.

4-year-old twin sisters Maria and Marialla Bowah also didn't make it out in time.

Jallah said she's humbled by all the support she's receiving.

“I don’t even know how to say thank you because the community, outsiders, everybody put their heads together to help our family and I really appreciate it," she said.

As residents returned to their homes a day later, they're still struggling to cope with the massive tragedy that struck their block.

“If I tell you we’re going to move past it, that’s a lie. It going to be hard, we lost four kids, it’s going to be hard," Jallah said.

Donations are being accepted until Monday at 12 p.m.

Church leaders say if the doors are locked, supplies can be left at the front door of the church.

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