Gibsonville, N.C. -- Most of us will never imagine the pain, the feeling of what happened inside a Gibsonville home this weekend. On Saturday, a house fire killed two children in their bedroom: four-year-old Matthew Ridge-Poulos and one-year-old Jade Hawks.
Their grandfather tried to save them, but the flames were too intense. Firefighters say a space heater sparked the fire. There were no working smoke detectors in the home. Now, community and family members are preparing to say goodbye to the children.
It's impossible to make sense of why something like this happens. Local pastors are working to help both the community and the family heal.
"Words cannot express what I can imagine is going through their heads, in their hearts and in their lives. Sorrow just gets deep and it gets dark," Friedens Lutheran Church Pastor Bill Zima said. "We believe that God is with us in the midst of brokenness. God was with those kids when they were passing from this life into the next. Jesus was the first one there welcoming them home."
Gibsonville United Methodist Church Pastor Jonathan Marlowe added, "When terrible tragedies like this happen, I think they're just part of life. They're not something predestined by God, but they're something God gives us the capacity and the strength to carry on...We celebrate together in the good times and we grieve together in the hard times. Right now, there are a lot of people in Gibsonville grieving for that family."
Several local churches in the area have raised money to help the family. A family friend donated burial plots. The Rich and Thompson Funeral Home waived all of its fees.
However, even with that support, nothing can heal the family's broken heart.
The children's visitation will be on Wednesday at the Burlington Rich and Thompson Funeral Home from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The funeral is Thursday at 2:00 p.m. Both are open to the public.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
If you would like to help this family, which lost two children and a home, stop by any Truliant Federal Credit Union and donate to the Ridge Family Memorial Account.
You can also mail a check to:
Truliant Federal Credit Union
Ridge Family Memorial Account
2564 Kirkwood Dr.
Burlington, N.C. 27215