Last Updated on October 22, 2021 by Maggie Sutton
Through the Erie Community Foundation and the Hamot Health Foundation, the Homes for Heroes Foundation was able to donate a $5,000 Hero Grant to support local volunteer firefighter, Luther Jones with the loss of his three children in a devastating Erie daycare fire.
Erie Daycare Fire
On August 11, 2019 a family residence that also housed a 24-hour daycare experienced a tragic house fire in Erie, PA. The Erie Fire Department and first responders were on scene and managed to pull 7 people from the fire. Five children did not survive including three of Luther Jones’ children. Two other local families lost a child to the fire.
Homes for Heroes real estate specialist, Paul Kitchen, is tied to this tragedy as one of his tenants was one of the other families to lose a child in the Erie daycare fire. He felt the loss on both a community and personal level, and appreciated that the Homes for Heroes Foundation was able to provide funds to assist Luther Jones’ family through their loss.
Supporting Families During Time of Loss
The Homes for Heroes Foundation was able to provide a $5,000 grant to the Erie Community Foundation to support the Jones family. The Erie Community Foundation is a collection of over 800 charitable endowments. The operate under a single public charity. According the Erie Community Foundation’s website, their mission is to improve the quality of life for all in their region. They evaluate and address community issues by building permanent charitable endowments, while promoting philanthropic and community leadership.
Through the Erie Community Foundation’s endowments and Erie Gives Day, the $5,000 grant from the Homes or Heroes Foundation was given specifically to the Hamot Health Foundation to support Luther Jones and his family. Altogether, Hamut Health Foundation and the Erie community raised more than $62,000 through 680 donors to support the Jones and the two other families during this time of loss.
Investigation Ongoing, Policy Debates
Authorities investigating the fire only found one smoke detector in the attic of the three story home. Investigators say the fire appears to have begun on the first floor.
On August 19, the investigation into the fire continued, but Erie and state officials highlighted the lack of smoke detectors in the daycare facility. According to GoErie.com, Fire Chief Guy Santone, said the Erie Bureau of Fire is stocked with free smoke detectors, and he’d like all local daycare operators with facilities who need smoke detectors to contact the bureau to take advantage of the free detectors.
Chief Santone is also working on getting a city ordinance with Bureau of Code Enforcement officials that would require daycare facilities to register each year and also undergo inspections by the bureau’s fire inspectors.
Grieve, Process and Recover
We at Homes for Heroes and the Homes for Heroes Foundation offer our deepest sympathy to these three families. And personally, as a father of three, there is no way to grasp the pain experienced by surviving family members. The thought of losing my children is unthinkable. To the families who lost their little ones, especially the Jones family with the loss of three babies, I’m so sorry. We are so very sorry. We hope the dollars provided by the Homes for Heroes Foundation help as you and your loved ones grieve, process and recover.