WATERTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Hundreds of mourners attended a funeral Friday for a father and four daughters who died in an upstate New York house fire.
Firefighters lined the entrance to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart church in Watertown for the funeral celebrating the lives of Aaron Bodah and his daughters: 4-year-old Skylar; 6-year-old Erin; 8-year-old Alexa and 14-year-old Merissa.
The fire broke out early Feb. 14. A fifth daughter, 13-year-old Hailey, survived after escaping from the burning home; she ran to neighbors for help.
“They were just the sweetest girls,” Watertown teacher Erin Weston told WWNY . “They loved each other so much. You always saw them walking hand in hand. They loved school; they always had a smile on their face.”
Skylar, the family’s youngest, loved singing and ponies. Erin, a first-grader, sang, too, and also danced. Alexa, a second-grader, was a fan of video games and superheroes. Merissa, a ninth-grader, liked doing makeup with their mom, Melissa Davey, also of Watertown.
Prayers were offered Friday for Hailey and for the girls’ mother, Melissa Davey.
Then the family members followed a coffin and several urns as they were placed in a hearse and taken to a cemetery.
Investigators said it appeared the fire started in the kitchen, where pots had been left on the electric stove. Smoke detectors had no batteries, they said.
“We must take the lessons taught to us by this event and come together,” said Fire Chief Dale Herman, “not only to support those family and friends in their grief, but also to help our neighbors and responders return to their new routines and prevent future tragedy such as this from occurring in our homes.”