Funeral Location Changed for Gesner Fire Victims

There's a change in the funeral plans for the four children killed in the Gesner Street fire last month.

The funeral will now take place at Divine Mercy Parish at 7200 Grovers Avenue on Aug. 16 at 9 a.m. The wake will take place at the same location from 8 p.m. to midnight on Aug. 15.

The two families who each lost two children in the fire decided to hold one funeral for all four children. The funeral is open to the public, according to Dahn Dennis of the Liberian Association of Pennsylvania. 

The venue was changed from the First Baptist Church of Paschall a week before the funeral due to a scheduling conflict.

The children -- 4-year-old twins Maria and Marialla Bowah and brothers 4-year-old Patrick Sanyeah and 7-week-old Taj Jacque --  were killed in the early morning hours of July 5. Dewen "Marie" Bowah was home with her five children and babysitting the two boys when a fire broke out about 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 where they perished.

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 finalized, Turay said in West African cultures it is not uncommon for a funeral to take place 30 days after a death.

Contact Sarah Glover at 610-668-5580, or follow @skyphoto on Twitter.

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