SEATTLE – Hundreds of members of Seattle’s East African community will gather today to mourn the loss of five people killed in an apartment fire last Saturday. It was one of the city’s worst fire tragedies.
The fire, caused by a mattress that was placed too close to a light bulb in a closet, raced through the Fremont neighborhood apartment unit, killing a woman and four children.
Killed in the fire were 22-year-old Eyerusalem Gebregiorgis, 22; Joseph Gebregiorgis, 13; Nyella Smith, 7; Yaseen Shamam, 5; and Nisreen Shamam, 6.
Besides leaving the surviving family members grieving, the tragedy has cut deeply into the heart of the Ethiopian and East African community.
As part of Ethiopian culture, there have been seven days of mourning, leading up to today’s memorial service at Key Arena.
The memorial will begin at 11:00 a.m. Immediately following the service there will be a funeral at the Evergreen Washelli Cemetary.
Because of the large number of people expected at the memorial, buses will shuttle people to and from Key Arena. The buses will begin leaving the Yesler Community Center starting at 9 a.m.
There are also several bank accounts and fundraisers set up for the family.
• Waterway Memorial Fund – Chase Bank. Waterway is also asking for new and gently used clothing for the family. Those items can be dropped off at: 2501 N. Northlake Way in Seattle
• Fremont Fire Victim’s Fund – Bank of America
• Yesler Community Center is also accepting donations and clothing: 917 E. Yesler Way in Seattle