AKRON, Ohio-- Family and friends gathered Friday night to honor two sisters who were killed in a house fire.
Jada Snowden, 12, and Kymera Cody, 5, were unconscious when firefighters pulled them from the burning home on Seward Avenue in Akron on Oct. 13. They passed away the following day.
"My cousins were beautiful. They were respectful little girls. They loved life. They were in school, both cheerleaders. Every time I saw them, they embraced me with a hug," Latika Glover said.
People were asked to meet at Erie Island Park at 5 p.m. Friday. The group will walk to United Baptist Church, where there will be a prayer service and balloon launch. Those attending were asked to wear pink and purple, the girls' favorite colors.
Jada was a seventh grader at Buchtel Community Learning Center while Kymera was a kindergartner at Schumacher Community Learning Center. Nine children from Akron Public Schools have lost their lives to house fires in the past 10 months.
"It hasn't been easy trying to explain to a 5 and 7-year-old that really understands, but has no understanding that their friends aren't here with us anymore," said Donnalyn Youngblood as she comforted her two children, both of whom knew the girls.
There were no working smoke detectors in the home, family members told FOX 8.
Akron Public Schools plans to distribute 21,000 fliers to students next week advertising a free smoke detector program, offered jointly by the Red Cross and the fire department. Parents will also be contacted through robo-calls telling them to expect the fliers to come home with their students.
"If we have one child, that's excellent. If we could have a hundred, that would be greater. If we have more than that, we are ready. We are ready for the phone calls," said Teresa Greenlief, a Red Cross Disaster Relief Volunteer.
The Red Cross reminds families even if they have smoke detectors in their homes, after 10 years they should be replaced. The program will not only replace the smoke detectors, but offers to install them for free and includes helpful instruction on how to prevent and survive a fire.
All donations can be made to Chase Bank, in the form of a check or money order, made out to Jada Snowden-Kymera Cody.