Family remembers fire nearly 50 years later - KMSP-TV

Family remembers fire nearly 50 years later

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A young family was destroyed nearly 50 years ago due to a fire. Saturday, two of the surviving children came back to the home to hopefully bury the tragedy that has haunted their lives.

Three generations of the Tiller family gathered in a tucked away corner of Kirkwood on Saturday afternoon. They came to remember a deadly fire that claimed the lives of their mother Mary Jo, their four young siblings and a neighbor's child on November 1, 1965.

58-year-old Jerome Elder and his 59-year-old sister Sylvia Fletcher were just 10 and 11 respectively, when the fire swept through their family's duplex on Wade Street in northeast Atlanta.

Neighbor Etta Bates lived next door and remembers Mary Jo screaming as she clutched her youngest child, an 11-month-old boy.

Sylvia still remembers her step-father hustling to save all the children. She said he busted out windows and threw the children to safety.

The siblings made this journey Saturday as a family with their children, their grandchildren and even a family therapist. It is all in hopes to finally end their grieving and more their family forward.

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