Neighbors grieve after children killed
ALBANY, GA (WALB) - There were a lot of tears as an Albany neighborhood learned the details of a fire and homicide investigation.
It's usually quiet in the Doublegate neighborhood. But Wednesday morning, neighbors awoke to flames.
"I saw where the house was still smoldering and burning and I saw all kinds of firetrucks, ambulances and everything," said neighbor Duane McCaskill.
"I just wish we could have done something," added another neighbor, Brenda Geer.
Neighbors said they didn't know the man who resided in the home that burned, but they are grieving for him and his loss and for the impact it has had on their neighborhood.
"I know what it is to loose a child and it's just a terrible, terrible feeling," said McCaskill.
MORE: South Georgia fire investigated as homicide, two children dead
Throughout the day Wednesday on West Doublegate Drive police, fire and GBI officials were busy at work.
"It's pretty overwhelming to see all the vehicles here...all the firetrucks and everyone here and to know this happened so close to our house," said neighbor Kenny Strickland.
Strickland lives across the street from the house. He was in Atlanta this morning when he read about the news.
"As soon as I saw the picture I knew where this house was. Across the street from mine," said Strickland.
When he learned about the loss of two children, it became even more dear to his heart.
Strickland has two children of his own.
"You worry about the possibility of something happening at your house as well. It's just scary to happen so close to you like this," said Strickland.
Geer babysits her grandchildren just down the street. There were tears in her eyes as she spoke about this tragic event.
"It's just horrific news for us in this neighborhood or really for anyone that loses two children. I just can't imagine going through that," said Geer.
As McCaskill watched from the windows of his house all morning, he recalled meeting the man who moved in just six months ago.
"I just welcomed him to the neighborhood and told him if there was anything we could ever to for him to let us know," said McCaskill.
McCaskill didn't know he would be there when the man got home from work and learned the news for himself of what was happening at his home.
"It's absolutely terrible. I can't even imagine. I know he had to be in shock to have seen that. I'm just very sorry that it had happened," said McCaskill.
As neighbors come together to grieve, they said things will never be the same.
"Every time you see that house you are going to remember the traumatic thing that happened," said Strickland. "You know it could have been our house. It could have been anyone's house and it just hits home when it's that close to you."
There are a number of others living in the area with small children. And now some parents are having to face explaining what happened to their children.
"Just a lot of you know, 'Could that house happen at our house mommy? How did it happen? Could they not get out of the house when it happened?'" said resident Laura Griffin.
Those are some of the tough questions kids are asking their parents after hearing about the two children that died.
One Albany company that provides counseling and psychological services said that the most important thing is to have the conversation.
Professional counselor Lindsey Tucker recommended that parents share general details to kids in elementary and middle school.
Because high schoolers have access to social media and the news on their phone, it's important to let them ask questions.
"We're uncomfortable with those emotions and with the experience of death and the grieving process. So not shutting the children down when they are expressing emotions, when they are expressing confusion, concern about what happened," said Tucker.
Tucker also suggested allowing kids to read books about tragedy, and talk with them about positive memories.
Also, let them participate in memorial services.
Tucker said the counselors are available to school systems and parents in the community.
As the neighborhood continues to grieve, WALB is working to learn more about the children and the family involved.
You can join the conversation on Facebook, where people have been sharing their condolences throughout the day.
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