JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Dozens paid tribute Tuesday night to three young children and their grandmother, who died after their Oceanway mobile home went up in flames last week.
Richard "Bubba" Fowler Jr., 4, Rachel Fowler, 2, and 10-month-old Janet (pictured right to left below) died along with 53-year-old Sheila Swearingen. Friends, family and neighbors gathered for a viewing Tuesday at the Hardage-Giddens Town & Country Funeral Home on Normandy Boulevard. Their funeral will be at Hardage-Giddens at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
The children's sister, 6-year-old Hattie (pictured below), was pulled from the fire by a 13-year old boy who was riding his bicycle past the mobile home.
"They didn't even get their chance to live," said Crystal Belser, who lived near the Fowler family.
She broke down as she talked about her neighbors' children.
"I played with Hattie most, and Bubba," Belser said. "Rachel I saw a lot. (Their mother) Jennifer was so attached to all of them. I'm just heartbroken."
Outside the funeral home Tuesday, people held each other for support as they grieved with the children's parents, Richard and Jennifer Fowler. Among those to attend was Ann Dugger with the Justice Coalition.
"As a message and condolences from our organization, we want to let them know that we've been praying for them," Dugger said. "There is a community that is grieving, a heartbroken community."
For many at the viewing, their thoughts now are on the children's parents.
"I hope they keep going," Belser said. "And just know that they've got three little angels watching over them. Jennifer has them high above just watching over them. Guardian angels forever just watching them."
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