Community pays respects to victims of deadly fire - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Community pays respects to victims of deadly fire

The makeshift memorial on Baltimore Street. 7 people, including five children, died in the fire. The makeshift memorial on Baltimore Street. 7 people, including five children, died in the fire.

The sidewalk on Baltimore Street in Orange Mound isn't big enough to hold the growing makeshift memorial of teddybears, balloons, flowers and photographs, a tribute to the victims and survivors of Saturday's fire.

Investigators continue to search for clues as to how the blaze started.

Seven members of the Poole family died in the house fire: Melissa Poole, 38; Deon Poole, 18; Diamond, 9; Dajanique, 7; DaShaun, 5; Arianna, 4; and Rodney, 1.

Three others were sent to area hospitals. 11-year-old DeAndra Poole and 16-year-old Darius Poole are listed in good condition. 17-year-old Rochelle Russell, the pregnant girlfriend of Deon Poole, has been released from The Med. Family says she and her baby are doing okay.

On Sunday afternoon, a steady stream of cars and people from all over Memphis continued to come by the house on 860 Baltimore to offer condolences and pay their respects to a beloved family. The stream of vehicles was so heavy, family members helped direct traffic.

Members of survivor Darius Poole's Melrose High School football team gathered outside the house.

"He's a great person. Everyone on the team loves him. We've got our prayers out for him," said teammate Eddie Steele. "He says he's ready to get back out on the field."

Rev. Calvin Crawford, uncle and guardian of the surviving children, says they are very emotional right now, but holding up well, considering the deaths of their mother, siblings and cousins. He says Darius, still in his hospital bed, is most concerned about how everyone else is holding up.

Crawford added that his sister Melissa and her eldest son Deon were able to escape the house, but returned inside to rescue the children.

"When she did that, that's when the floor in the room they were in collapsed," he said.

Crawford says he's not surprised by the amount of people in the community driving to Baltimore Street to pay their respects to his late sister, nieces and nephews.

"More friends than you could imagine. Everyone wanted to be here."

At Greater Hope Baptist Church on Sunday morning, family and church members gathered to pray for those who died, and for the young survivors who have a long road of physical and emotional recovery ahead.

The church is accepting donations to help assist the family with funeral expenses and other needs. For more information, contact Rev. Calvin Crawford at 275-0320. Regions Bank is also accepting donations.

Click here to e-mail Lori Brown.

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