Debrittney Lawrence, with her daughter Kailee Smith in her arms and daughter Kimoni Dunlap nearby, places balloons Thursday at a memorial at the home on Pinedale Circle where four children died in a fire Tuesday night. Lawrence, who lives in Rockdale County, said she has been touched by the tragedy and wanted to pay her respects. A prayer vigil for the Glass family was held Thursday night at Macedonia Baptist Church in Conyers. -- Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith
CONYERS -- The Rockdale community is rallying behind a mother, grandmother and son who survived a Tuesday night fire that claimed the lives of four children.
Reba Glass, 28, reportedly saved her 6-year-old son Darnell Jr., by dropping him out of a second story window at their duplex at 1149 Pinedale Circle. Glass was unable to reach her four other children, who were also apparently upstairs when the fire broke out at about 11 p.m. She escaped by jumping out of an upstairs window. Her mother, who was downstairs in the home, was able to safely exit by the front door.
Glass's four other children perished in the blaze -- Adaria Glass, 10, Dashawn Glass, 7, Deon Glass, 8 months, and Armoni Glass, 3. Adaria turned 10 on Jan. 2, and Dashawn would have been 8 on Jan. 13.
According to Rockdale County Fire and Rescue Chief Dan Morgan, the fatal fire apparently started in the upstairs bathroom and hallway area of the home. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Fire officials reported Thursday that there were no smoke detectors on the second story of the home and one located on the first floor was not working.
Pastor Billie Cox of Macedonia Baptist Church in Conyers, who has been in close contact with Reba Glass and her mother, said Thursday that the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of the tragic fire has been overwhelming.
"Strangers, people that I'm not even familiar with, are calling and saying what can I do, what can I do?" said Cox Thursday morning. She said people are already collecting clothing and household items for the Glass family, who lost all their possessions in the fire.
Glass, who suffered burns to 40 percent of her body, was taken to Grady Hospital in Atlanta Tuesday night. Cox said she visited with Glass Thursday morning.
"She is beginning to experience the physical pain of the burns," in addition to the emotional pain, said Cox. "She had a good time visiting with the 6-year-old (Wednesday), but it was a pretty emotional time for her, as well."
Cox said little Darnell doesn't yet fully understand that his siblings are gone.
"He wants to get toys and stuff and bring them for his sister and brothers," she said.
Darnell was initially transported to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston where he was treated and released. Cox said he is now with his father but will soon be reunited with his grandmother.
Those who would like to contribute to memorials or support for the Glass family may make contributions to a fund set up at Wells Fargo Bank branches. The account number is 1009683226.
Cox said that clothing donations in the following sizes are also needed: women's clothing in sizes 20 and 22, shoes in sizes 7.5 and 8, and boys clothing size 6 and shoe size 11.
A prayer vigil for the Glass family was held Thursday night at Macedonia Baptist Church, 1052 Barton St. NW, Conyers.
Cox said memorial services for the four children will be held Jan. 19, 11 a.m., also at Macedonia Baptist. Cox said she would be the officiant at that service.
"I don't look forward to that, but it is a part of the call," she said.
A representative from Levett and Sons Funeral Home of Conyers has offered to handle the funeral arrangements for the family at no cost, according to information provided by Rockdale County.
For more information on how to provide assistance to the Glass family, contact Cox at 770-262-4076, or local businesswoman Susan Chambers, who is helping to coordinate relief efforts. Chambers may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She has also set up a Facebook page at "Glass family memorial."
Shannon Boland-Conerly, a representative of Kidz Dine "N" Inc., an organization that fights childhood obesity, said their day of service event will be devoted to raising funds for the Glass family. The event is slated for Jan. 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Harley-Davidson in Conyers. Boland-Conerly said the event will start with a prayer vigil at 9 a.m., followed by two "hour of power" fitness workouts. Participants are asked to collect pledges of $10 for each hour they work out. Workout sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. All proceeds will go to the Glass Family Memorial Fund.
Contributions of money, clothing and gift cards will also be collected at the event. Checks should be made payable to the Glass Family Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo Bank.
Kidz Dine "N" is also kicking off its campaign against childhood obesity by asking participants to make a 90-day commitment to a healthy lifestyle by walking 1.3 miles per day, working out for 20 minutes a day, and eating five small meals a day.
Boland-Conerly can be reached at 678-491-0920.