DETROIT (WWJ) – A local church was packed as Detroit remembered two young girls who died in a house fire last week.
Joining family, friends and neighbors at the services from 8-year-old Alaya, and 10-year-old Lataya Cook were officials from Detroit’s fire and police department, and the girls’ school.
Funeral services were moved from their school to Second Ebenezer Church in Detroit.
There, WWJ’s Pat Sweeting spoke with Heidi Hiebert, the girls’ dance teacher.
“I had both of them, in Kindergarten and in various years during their school. Spain’s like a family, and we’re here to support the family,” she said.
Hiebert echoed the girls’ parents’ disappointment at not being allowed to hold the funeral at Spain Elementary.
District spokesman Steve Wasko said school officials helped identify a more “appropriate location.”
“I am extremely disappointed for the children, the kids themselves. I think that they needed to have the funeral at their home,” she said.
WWJ’s Stephanie Davis stopped by the Clora Funeral Home on Detroit’s east side.
A woman by the name of Arielle, who was leaving the viewing with her family, told Stephanie that it’s been a very difficult time for her and her two young sons, ages 8 and 7. She said her sons used to play with the sisters.
“It’s hard, especially when it’s involving kids anyway, you know,” Arielle told Stephanie. “Such a tragic thing had to happen at such a sudden moment, you know. So, it’s really kinda hard; the only thing we can do is just take a day at a time.”
The two closed caskets were draped, each with a large banner-like cloth, one with a picture of Alaya; the other, with a picture of Lataya.
The sisters died in the March 9 blaze on Detroit’s east side, which is being investigated as suspicious.
Dante Cook leaped from a second-floor window, but couldn’t persuade his frightened daughters to jump to safety. He said the house was firebombed.