Fatal fire stirs hard memories for mom of 1996 fire victims

Six people died in a fire this weekend on Olney Avenue.
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The Olney Avenue fire that killed six people, including four children, brings back a 1996 tragedy on New Jersey Street.

Four brothers between ages three and eight died in that blaze.

"I have lived with that hurt and pain everyday, but I learned to trust God in that," said Janie Holly, mother of the four New Jersey Street fire victims.

The boys are remembered in a memorial near the house.

Janie was at work when it happened. The father was returning home when the fire broke out. They had smoke detectors, but the sleeping boys apparently didn't hear them.

"My heart is so heavy for the family," said Holly, talking about the family of Saturday's Olney Avenue victims. "If I could tell them anything - keep your hand in God's hand."

Since the blaze, Janie has remarried and is now raising daughters. She drums fire safety into their heads.

All the girls have smoke detectors in their rooms. They know how to open their windows and how to escape. They have fire drills, seven smoke detectors and the girls know the plan.

Janie tells them, "Windows, I don't care what you got to do, get out."

Her sons Stacy, Joshua, Jamel and James would be ages 21 through 25 now. Their legacy is spreading the fire safety message through their mom, who calls for tougher smoke detector laws.

She is thinking of the Olney victims' family.

"I just want them to know they are in my heart. My prayers are with them," she said.