Vigil held for mom, 4 girls killed in Newnan house fire

by: Liz Artz Updated:

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Newnan, Ga. - Hundreds of community members remembered a mother who died trying to save five young girls after a fire broke out in a Newnan home early Saturday morning.

Midland Park Lane was packed with mourners who lit candles, said prayers and let balloons trail off into the night sky in memory of the victims.

The mother of 3-year-old Messiah White told channel 2's Liz Artz she is devastated. Her daughter, along with McKenzie Florence, 1, Nikia White, 2, and Eriel McCrary, 5, died in the accidental fire investigators believe started in an electrical panel in the living room around 1 a.m.

Alonna McCrary, the mother of three of the girls, also died trying to rescue them. Her 11-year-old daughter was the only one who made it out safely after the girl was alerted to the fire by a smoke detector and her mother, according to Newnan police.

McCrary's boyfriend, Tedrin White, who is also the father of three of the girls, is in the Coweta County jail on a marijuana charge and probation violation. Jail officials said he's not on a suicide watch but they are keeping a close eye on him considering the recent tragedy.

Investigators are still gathering details about the fire. A former renter, Tamara Terrel, who said she is Alonna McCrary's cousin, told Artz she had electrical issues off and on for the three years when she lived in the house.

Terrel said she doesn't believe property managers fixed the problems they said they had repaired.

"I'm absolutely sure they didn't fix it. This was the outcome of it," Terrel said.

A memorial fund has been set up at the United Bank of Newnan for McKenzie Florence, the youngest victim of the fire.

The family is trying to gather funds for funeral expenses and to buy clothing for Alonna McCrary's surviving children.


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