Elementary students forced to deal with loss of classmates

Students at school learn of classmates' death, counselors provided
Two of the six children who died in the house fire attended Cummings Elementary School. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Two of the six children who died in the house fire attended Cummings Elementary School. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Students, teachers, and parents at Cummings Elementary School are stunned that two classmates died in a house fire Monday morning.

Grief counselors were at the school Monday to help anyone struggling to cope with the tragedy.

The school's principal, Key Coleman, sent the following letter home to parents:

Dear Cummings Parents and Guardians,

When the final bell rang Monday, Jeff Benson's daughter, who was overcome with emotion, went running into her father's arms.

"I couldn't imagine [what's going through her head] right now, with her just being a kid man. That's crazy. It's going to be OK, baby," Benson said. "This will be my first time to have to explain something like this to my kid. And I don't really know, but I'm going to try my best to try to get it across to her."

Alonzo Ward, 6, and Diamond Jett, 7, died Monday morning when their house caught fire. They, along with eight other family members were trapped inside the home.

Only one of their siblings survived. He's in the hospital in extremely critical condition.

"It's sad. I mean when I heard about it all I thought about was my kids and my family. I mean it's just horrible; it brought me to tears," parent Telia Woods said.

Grieg counselors will be available at Cummings Elementary School for the rest of the week.

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