The Akron community is morning the death of two sisters whose lives were taken during a devastating fire at their West Akron home on Thursday night.
Sisters Jada Snowden, 12 and Kymera Cody, 5 were transported to Akron Children's Hospital where they were listed in critical condition but later died. "I can still hear the screaming in my head," said Jaynett Burkett who spoke with your Reporter Newspaper from her front porch.
Requesting not to be photographed, Burkett stood gazing directly across the street as she recounts exactly what she saw and heard that night. "I was sitting out on my porch smoking a cigarette when I heard a lady begin to scream."
Saying she didn't smell any smoke or see any fire at that time, she could hear the mother yelling "please help my babies."
"That's when I heard a loud bang and started seeing fire pouring out of the house... then I hear and see all these fire trucks turn down my street and stops in front of the house," she said.
It has not been determined how the fire started but Firefighters did confirm that there were no smoke detectors in the home.
Jaynett said she would pay close attention to her young daughters who were friends with young Kymera and had been at Kymera's home playing earlier that day. "She understands about death because her dad was killed a few years ago and she used to run to the window looking for him every time she heard a car drive by with it's music playing," she said.
"Now she knows he's not coming home because I told her he went to heaven, and so that's what I told her about Kymera."
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan issued a statement saying, "My family, the Akron Fire Department, and the entire Akron community are profoundly saddened by this heartbreaking incident."
While any loss of life is tragic, the loss of a child is truly devastating. My deepest sympathies and prayers are with the family and loved ones of these two precious girls during this time of great sorrow and grief."
Horrigan thanked the fire's first responders for their bravery in quickly responding to the scene, and also stated, "I offer my full support and confidence to the professionals as they investigate the cause of this unfortunate incident."
Akron Public Schools Director of Marketing Communications Mark Williamson, sent out a statement from Akron School Superintendent David James which stated,
We are saddened by the news of the deaths of Kymera Elise Cody and Jada Capri Snowden. We are here to help and support their family in any way we can during this difficult time.
The statement ends by stating This is the third time in 10 months we have lost children in house fires in our community. Nine children have perished. This has led us to begin discussing working on a better way to help children protect themselves outside of school hours. Clearly, more must be done.
Counselors were on hand on Monday consoling and giving support to students and teachers, also listening to students address their concerns as well.
Akron Public School also issued a release that the district were working on a plan to address fire safety away from the school.
The community has begun rallying together in support of the girls mother Desiree Philmore. An account at any Chase bank has been se up for anyone wishing to send or bring check or money order: (Fund for Jada Snowden-Kymera Cody).
On Friday October 20th, a calling hour/viewing for the girls will begin at 10:00
a.m. to 12:00 pm., Funeral will begin at 12:00 pm. at Crouse Community Learning Center (CLC), 1000 Diagonal Road Akron.
There will also be a spaghetti benefit dinner from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. October 25th at Buchtel CLC, 1040 Copley Road, to benefit the family.
City Council member Russel Neal Jr. said he along with the Akron fire department have been working to make Akron communities safe. "We're making sure that homes without smoke detectors receive them," said Neal.
"They will eventually canvass the whole city but for now working the hardest hit area which is west Akron."
34th District State Representative Emilia Sykes commented, "It's a shame we're losing so many children...we've been focusing on infant mortality being on the rise in that zip code area but we have to continue pressing the issue about fire safety in the home as well."
If you are interested in receiving free smoke alarms, call 330-535-2030.