The parents of four children who died in a fire at an overnight day care home on Sunday are sharing their grief over their devastating loss.
Luther Jones and Shavona Overton lost their children La'Myhia Jones, 8; Luther Jones Jr., 6; Ava Jones, 4; and Jaydan Augustyniak, 9 months, in a blaze that killed five children early Sunday morning at Harris Family Day Care in Erie, Pennsylvania.
They spoke with NBC affiliate WICU about the tragic loss.
"It's been hard for me the last couple days to even cope with them not being here,'' said Jones, who was father to the three older children.
"Hard for me to eat, sleep, cope,'' Overton said. "This was my everything. Not hearing their voice, not feeling their touch. I can’t even go in my house. I can’t see their things. It’s just hard to even deal with it."
Jones is a volunteer firefighter with the Lawrence Park Fire Department who was on another call at 1 a.m. Sunday while his fellow firefighters battled the day care center blaze.
He found out about his children when his cousin, who works in the emergency room at the local hospital, called to tell him they were there.
"I wish there was something I could’ve did to be there when this was all happening, but like I said, I did not know until an hour and a half later,'' Jones said.
Overton, the four children's mother, was working a late shift as a certified nurse aid at LECOM Senior Living when the fire occurred, the station reported.
"Me being a mom … everything I knew was about my kids,'' she said. "They’re not here, and I don’t know what to do."
Officials said the woman who owns the day care, Elaine Harris, was injured in the blaze. Jones and Overton did not blame Harris for the tragedy.
"They’ve been going there for over six years,'' Overton said. "Elaine is Jaydan’s godmother. She loved the kids as if they were her own."
Their biggest frustration came from learning that investigators found only one smoke detector in the home, located in the attic. They are still working to determine the cause of the fire.
"That kills me the most, that they said they only found one smoke detector,'' Jones said. "If they had heard the smoke detectors, they would’ve been out of the house and my kids would still be here today."
A funeral service is being held for the couple's four children on Saturday at Second Baptist Church in Erie, where Jaydan was baptized only a few months ago.
Jones and Overton are doing their best to stay strong in honor of their children.
"I just hear their voices in the back of my head everyday saying keep doing what you’re doing, don’t change nothing because we’re not here, just keep going,'' Jones said.
"They motivate me to be better,'' Overton said. "They kept pushing me to do better."