Funeral donations still needed
After losing three children to a blazing fire and while preparing to bury themÂ Saturday, April 16, 2011, Stacey L. Austin, Sr.,31, urged all parents to buy a fire
extinguisher he says might give them more time to rescue their family.
In an effort to help prevent other parents from experiencing the pain and agony
he and his wife, Samantha Sims, are going through, the distraught fatherâ€™s message was clear: â€œBuy a fire extinguisher which may give you the time you need to save your
Austin and his wife, Samantha Sims, 31,lived in their Englewood home at 6758 S.
Emerald along with their ten children. Shortly after 2 a.m., Thursday, April 7, 2011, their nightmare began. Firefighters say their 4-year-old boy was playing with a
cigarette lighter on the bottom bunk bed when his sheets caught fire.
Fire officials said Mrs. Sims tried desperately to put out the fire with water,
but the flames were too fast and consuming. She and her husband managed to get
seven of their children to safety.
However, they were unable to save two sons, Stacey Austin, Jr., 9, Joseph Austin, 4, and
Dashiyah Austin, 2, all of whom died of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide
â€œIf you can afford a fire extinguisher, buy one,â€ Mr. Austin said. â€œThatâ€™s always great to have in your home because a fire extinguisher will give you some
extra time. That water just will not do,â€ he warned the public.
â€œAlso, everyone should have a safety plan,â€ he stated. However, in the wake of his tragedy, his main prayer has
been granted. â€œI asked God to make sure I can bury my kids with some respect and some decency.
â€œI have put my faith in God. I believe,I know God will anchor you through what
ever storm you are in,â€ Austin said. â€œGod is the only one who is holding us up.â€
There will be a public viewing of the children on Friday, April 15, 2011, until 7 p.m. tonight, Friday, April 15, 2011, at the Calahan Funeral Home, 7030 S. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL.
Thanks to the Calahan Funeral Home and DCR Management, LLC, the Austinâ€™s, who lost everything they owned, will be able to funeralize their children Saturday, April 16, 2011, at the Faith Temple
Church of God In Christ, 7158 South Peoria Street, Chicago, IL.
Visitation at the Faith Temple Church of God In Christ, will be held at 9 a.m.
followed by a 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. funeral service.
Interment will be held at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Western and 119th Streets.
The repast will be held at the Benjamin Banneker Elementary School, 6656 S.
Normal Blvd., where the Austinâ€™s son, Joseph, attended. Mr. Austin said the
community is welcome to attend this event.
While some of the funeral costs have been paid for, there are related expenses
still pending. The Austinâ€™s have also received some clothing donations for the
children, but the couple also lost their own clothes and are in need of clothing
Checks can be sent to the: Austin Family Fund, U.S. Bank, 815 W. 63rd St.,
Chicago, IL 60621 or to the Calahan Funeral Home, 7030 S. Halsted, Chicago, IL
60621. The Calahanâ€™s have vowed to help the Austin couple.
The children are survived by their parents: father, Stacey L. Austin, mother,
Semantha Sims, brothers: Devion Sims, 12, Jaylan Austin, 5, and Lamar Austin,
6-months, and sisters: Simone Austin, 10, Jamiya Austin, 7, Dayjah Austin, 6, and
Samaria Austin, 1.
For those wishing to donate clothes to the surviving children and the parents,
here are their sizes:
Boys: Devion Sims, 12, clothes size12-14, shoe size, 6. Jaylan Austin, 5,
clothes size 5T, shoe size, 13 Toddler. Lamar Austin, 6-months old, clothes size
18 months-24-months, shoe size 4 baby.
Girls: Simone Austin, 10, clothes size10-12, shoe size 4, Jamiya Austin, 7,
clothes size 10-12, shoe size 3. Dayjah,6, clothes size 6, shoe size, 2. Samaria
Austin, 1, clothes size 2T-3T and shoe size 5 Toddler.
The parentsâ€™ sizes are as follows:
Mr. Austin: pants: 38 waist, length 34
Shirt: 17 1/2 or Extra Double X
Jacket: Double X
His wifeâ€™s sizes are:
Blouse: Extra Large
Jacket: Double X
Update to Article
According to Mrs. Shirley A. Calahan, Vice President of the Calahan Funeral Home, Mr. Suhail Fakhouri from DCR Management, did pay for the greater portion of the funeral. The Calahanâ€™s donated all of their services; however, there is still a balance for funeral-related (cemetery) expenses like the head stone the Austin family wants to purchase. That cost is $1700.
Others who donated included the Chicago Public Schools, the Red Cross and citizens who brought their donations to the Calahan Funeral Home located at 7030 S. Halsted St.
The Calahanâ€™s do not know how much has been deposited into the U.S. Bank, 815 W. 63
rd St., Chicago, IL 60621.