BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) — Kenise Robinson lights up when she talks about her children. She says each of them had their own personalities.
Aniyah, who was the oldest at 10 years old, took on the role of the caretaker.
“She was the one who made sure everyone was in line. Everyone was doing was they were supposed to do. The big sister,” Robinson said.
Robinson says 7-year-old Jalissa, had so much energy.
“She’s so just wow. She’s a flipper, never sits still,” she said.
“She was like a little tomboy, but she had her girly days. She was always running or jumping around, doing flips,” said Ariel Vandevander, who shared the same biological father as Joelle and Jalissa.
8-year-old Joelle, was diagnosed with autism and didn’t speak until she was five. Her mom says after that, she was always talking and singing.
“She blossomed. She talks so much. She loves to sing, she was in the choir,” Robinson said.
“Very smart, very curious about a lot of things,” Vandevander said.
4-year-old Denise was the opposite, her mom says she was the quite one. Then there’s Nehemiah, he was the youngest. His family says he loved to eat.
“He was always eating somethin,” Vandevander said.
“All of them were good kids and they stuck together through everything,” Vandevander added.
All five children died New Year’s Eve in a house fire on Dartmouth Avenue in Buffalo.
“They were my babies,” Robinson said. “Five kids gone. That’s 10 years of being a mother, just so many memories that I’ll never get to have. My heart is breaking.”
“They deserved a lot more, but God had other choices. To take them sooner than later,” Vandevander said. “They were everything.”
Denise and Nehemiah both died in the hospital, but were able to donate organs through ConnectLife. Vandevander says the family is still trying to process this loss, but they take comfort knowing that their organs were donated and saved five other kids.
“It’s not easy to lose someone that young and that close to you so the fact they got to save another child’s life is heartwarming for us,” she said.
The children’s grandmother, Lisa Liggins, carried a 7-month-old outside the burning home, that baby did survive. Buffalo Fire officials have ruled the fire as accidental.
“That’s a lot on her and this community,” said Murry Holman, with Back to Basics Ministries. This young lady has lost five kids, and one is still here, that’s a baby… we need to be the city of brotherly love.”