More than 200 brave frigid temperatures to honor 10 people who died

Monday, December 4th 2006, 10:46 pm
By: News On 6

ANDERSON, Mo. (AP) More than 200 people braved freezing temperatures Monday night to honor the victims of a fire that killed 10 people at a southwest Missouri group home for the elderly and mentally ill.

Some victims' relatives held white candles. They joined residents of this city of 1,800 in prayer, and sang "Amazing Grace" on a lot next to the rubble of the Anderson Guest House.

Twelve white roses were laid at a memorial at the edge of the home's lawn, a cross wrapped in white Christmas tree lights and hung with wreathes.

"I so appreciate these people coming out despite the cold," said Becky Moyer, 47, whose brother Nathan Hurst, 52, was one of the home residents who died in last week's fire. She said a winter storm kept people away from her brother's funeral Friday.

"For us, this is our funeral ceremony. It was so beautiful," she said.

Investigators said the fire started in the unfinished attic of the single-story home, possibly caused by faulty wiring. There were 33 residents and two caretakers in the home when the fire broke out around 1 a.m. on November 27th. About two dozen were injured.

Most who attended the memorial ceremony were city residents. They knew some of the victims as customers of local businesses or from seeing them for years outside the building.

Retiree Jo Jacobs said the home's residents were a fixture of the town. She said, "It's tragic. They were just family."

Mayor Bob Corcoran said at the start of the memorial service that the city was "really a caregiver to the people that we lost. We want to remember them for the joy that they brought and the lives that they enjoyed here in Anderson."