More than a month after four children died in a three-alarm fire that leveled homes in Southwest Philadelphia, those kids will be laid to rest.
A wake is planned for Friday night with a funeral Saturday for the four victims of the Gesner Street fire last month.
Friday's wake for 4-year-old twins Maria and Marialla Bowah and brothers 4-year-old Patrick Sanyeah and 7-week-old Taj Jacque will take place from 8 p.m. to midnight at Divine Mercy Parish at 7200 Grovers Ave. in southwest Philadelphia.
The young victims will be laid to rest after Saturday morning's funeral service at Divine Mercy at 9 a.m.
The children died in the early morning hours July 5. Dewen "Marie" Bowah was home with her five children and babysitting the two boys when a fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. Bowah was able to help her three oldest children escape through a second floor window, which she also used to get out of the house alive. She was not able to reach the youngest kids who were sleeping in a separate room.
Fire officials released a cause for the fast-moving blaze that leveled more than a dozen homes along Gesner Street Friday. The Chief Fire Marshal declared the cause "undetermined," citing extensive damage to the physical evidence used in the investigation.
There were reports, however, that people were playing with fireworks on a porch before the blaze.
Numerous in-kind funeral donations have poured in to cover the funeral costs. Patricia Quinn of Final Farewell has lead the effort. Antoine Turay of Turay Memorial Funeral Chapel estimates the discounted cost for funeral services and burials is $10,000.
"It’s very sad, but I’m glad to know that I can at least help out and ease their financial burden so they can get on with their life as best they can. Pretty much all the funeral expenses have been covered," said Quinn of Guckin Funeral Mansion.
As for why the funeral date took so long to be held, Turay said in West African cultures it is not uncommon for a funeral to take place 30 days after a death. The victims' families are Liberian.