Nashville fire victims remembered a year later

Nashville fire victims remembered a year later
Kathy Garcia
Kathy Garcia

NASHVILLE, GA (WALB) - A vigil was scheduled for Thursday night to remember the three people who died in a fire in Nashville on January 22nd, 2014.

On the morning of January 22nd, 2014, on Shepherd Drive in Nashville charred pieces of debris were all that remained of the house where six people were sleeping when a fire broke out in the kitchen around 3:30 a.m.

18 year-old Toby Hawkins, his father, 39 year-old Arturo Garcia, and Toby's stepbrother, 17 year-old Christopher Rowan, all died.

Kathy Garcia, mother of Toby and wife of Arturo, said Thursday afternoon, as she prepared to hold a vigil Thursday night with other family members to mark the one year anniversary of the fire, the grieving had gotten harder as the anniversary of their death had gotten closer.

"It's hard every day, because you still miss 'em," Garcia said. Kathy, her oldest son, and his ex-girlfriend were also in the house when the fire broke out. Kathy and her oldest son's ex-girlfriend got out through a bedroom window by knocking out an air conditioning unit they had installed. Kathy's oldest son got out through the window as well, but not before trying to save his younger brother.

"He tried to get his brother out and he couldn't," Garcia recalled. Arturo went into the kitchen to try to put out the fire, but he couldn't make it out in time. The fire trapped Toby and Christopher in their bedroom. They tried to get out their window but couldn't because the windows had been nailed shut.

The family had no idea when they bought the house.

The home also did not have any smoke detectors. Something that still haunted Kathy a year later. "Sometimes I'll wake up scared," Garcia explained. "I'll be asleep and i think I hear the smoke detector in my new house."

She said even though the vigil for her husband, son, and his stepbrother brings back the painful reality that they are dead, it's also an important part of remembering their life.

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