BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Members of the Buffalo community are paying their respects for the Liggin’s family. The family lost five children between the ages of two and 10 in a house fire on Dartmouth avenue on New Years Eve.
“It’s very sad, very somber, as anyone would expect. You know you see five coffins, five hearse, that’s not usual,” said Buffalo Common Council member Rasheed Wyatt.
Wyatt and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown were among those attending Friday’s funeral at Elim Christian Fellowship Church in Buffalo.
“I was engaged since the beginning in supporting the family,” Wyatt said. “I wanted to continue it to this point because that’s what someone who cares about children, families, folks in this university district would do.”
“To let the family know, particularly the mom of the children know, that the community continues to pray for her,” Mayor Brown said. “We will continue to be supportive of the mom and the family members on behalf of the city of good neighbors.”
The children are described as each having their own unique personalities. Aniyah, who was the oldest at 10-years-old, took on the role of the caretaker. 7-year-old Jalissa, had so much energy.
8-year-old Joelle, was diagnosed with autism and didn’t speak until she was five. Her mom says after that, she was always talking and singing.
4-year-old Denise was the opposite, her mom says she was the quite one. Then there’s Nehemiah, he was the youngest. His family says he loved to eat.
“The big sister, little brother, papa. They talked about those things, that were important, because sometimes when your life is short lived, you don’t have all those things,” Wyatt said. “It was very well-done, I mean, my heart, I had tears coming down my eyes that these children were just shinning stars, that their light was put out too quickly.”
Fire officials have ruled the cause of the fire as accidental. The children’s grandmother, Lisa Liggins, carried a 7-month-old outside the burning home and that baby did survive. Common council member Wyatt says she’s currently still in the hospital since the fire.
Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.