Throughout the day, hundreds of mourners are coming and going from the Yesler Community Center, remembering the five lives lost in the deadly Fremont fire Saturday morning. Daniel Gebregiorgis, the brother and uncle to the victims, spoke to the media outside this afternoon.
“My family and community are in shock and disbelief,” he said, reading from a prepared statement. “Just the night before, the whole family went out and watched Karate Kid, and that evening, they all went back to my sister’s house for a sleepover.” When he talked about his oldest nephew, Joseph Gebregiorgis, tears began to well up in his eyes. “Joseph was a 7th grader at Whitman Middle School, loved basketball,” he said. “Big Boston celtics fan. I owed him a movie. We made a bet. I had the Lakers winning that game the other night…. We were going to see Toy Story 3 when that came out.”
Joseph was the oldest of the children at 13. Nyella Smith (above) was 7 years old. Nisreen Shamam was 6. Yaseen Shaman had just turned 5 last week. And Eyerusalem Gebregiorgis was 22 years old.
Friends of the kids gathered around with the media to share their memories. “You feel it when they’re not around for a couple days,” said Shantier Johnson. “It hurts more than anything I’ve ever felt. This is real. This is reality. It’s crazy, because they’re not coming back, you know?”
The family and friends are setting up a bank account tomorrow where donations can be made. Until then, you can drop off donations at the Yesler Community Center, 917 East Yesler Way.