Members of the Newton-Abbott Volunteer Fire Company formed the honor guard this morning at the funeral for the four members of the Carney family of Hamburg who were killed in a fire Thursday night.
Hundreds of family members, friends, students and members of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church paid their last respects to Waun Carney, 43, and her children, Patricia C., 16, Diane L., 14, and James R. Jr., 3.
"There are no words to describe the pain and anguish you are going through right now. We are heartbroken," said the Rev. Mieczyslaw F. Nycz, parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. "Everything seems to suddenly stop. It seems like it doesn't make sense."
Fire broke out Thursday evening at the Niles Avenue home. As James R. Carney ran outside with burning curtains to keep the fire from spreading, his wife rushed upstairs to help her children. The fire was fueled, authorities said, from a liquid-oxygen cylinder providing oxygen to Jimmy Jr.'s crib.
Intense flames prevented Carney from getting back inside the house, and Mrs. Carney was able to save one of her daughters, Theresa, by pushing her out of a second-story window. Mrs. Carney and the three children died of smoke inhalation.
Students from Orchard Park Middle School, where Diane attended school, presented flowers, cards and mementos to the family at today's service.
"We are especially grateful for the smile that Diane gave us all," a classmate said.
A classmate of Patricia's told The Buffalo News Monday that Patricia had a creative style and always stood up for what she believed in.
Nycz said Mrs. Carney, Patricia, Diane and Jimmy had been baptized into the Catholic faith at the Easter vigil in 1999.
"All of them were welcomed here. Here they are today in front of the same candle," he said.
He said the Carneys are an example of what a loving, Christian family should be.