• Severson Avenue fire victims receive lasting tributes

    By: Chloe Morroni


    It's known as the worst loss of life in a Memphis house fire since the 1920's. The Severson Avenue fire killed ten people, seven of them were children. It happened back in September of 2016 and now those victims are finally getting a lasting tribute.

    "I knew I needed to do something and we just got together and started doing as much as we possibly could to help them," said Donna Kirk.

    Kirk is the founder of the Fallen Heroes Foundation.

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    She started the organization after her husband, a Memphis firefighter, was killed in the line of duty in 2003.

    When she saw the news coverage of the Severson Avenue fire Kirk said, "it was unimaginable to me. I could not believe what I was actually hearing and what I was watching. It broke my heart so bad."

    Donna started a GoFundMe and raised $15,000 to help the surviving family members. When she saw how the victims were buried without any grave markers, she wanted to purchase headstones, so she turned to Honest Monument Company.

    Owner Earnest Hillman spent months making the four headstones perfect and personal.  The company did it on Donna's $15,000 budget.

    The actual cost would have been $40,000 but that didn't matter to Hillman.

    He said, "this family is in my family and part of the community that I went to school, lived in and work in, so I wanted to do whatever I could to help this family be memorialized in a beautiful way."

    Kirk told FOX13 Friday when she saw the finished headstones, "they're absolutely gorgeous. Honest monument could not have done a better job. They're the most gorgeous things. I think the family will be very pleased."

    The tombstones will be placed in Elmwood cemetery this week. Shortly after the tragedy, the cemetery donated the plots and the services for the victims were also paid for by a Memphis funeral home.




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