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Archive for Wednesday, September 20, 2006

No answers yet for family of fire victims

September 20, 2006

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Tuesday afternoon, William Glover trudged through the ashes and rubble of Charles Glover Sr.'s burned home, looking for remnants of his brother's life.

The insurance adjusters there urged him not to, but Glover didn't care. He needed his brother's jewelry, his old family photos.

He needed answers.

"Sometimes I just wonder why things happen, how things happen," he said afterward, his head hung low.

For answers about what started Sunday's house fire at 1205 N.J., the family that lost Charles Sr. and four of his grandchildren in the blaze will have to wait.

The home had been returned to the family, but police and fire officials still were conducting interviews Tuesday and had no answers yet as to what caused the blaze, said Jerry Karr, division chief with Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical.

A funeral service for Charles Sr., 66, and the four children - Nolan Vender, 13; DaVonte Brockman, 11; Mario Johnson, 2; and Mariyana Johnson, 13 months - will be Sunday at the Kansas Union Ballroom on Kansas University's campus.

Glover worked for 25 years as a KU groundskeeper - 10 of which he spent tending to Chancellor Robert Hemenway's home.

Services, open to the public, will begin at 1:30 p.m. Private graveside services will be at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Charles Sr.'s widow, Learlean Glover, was up and moving around Tuesday at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, preparing to be discharged, friends said.

Learlean was the only survivor of Sunday's fire.

"She's doing much better," said L.C. McCoy, a member of Praise Temple Church of God in Christ where Glover Sr. served as a deacon. "She's ready to come home."

Learlean suffered smoke inhalation during the fire and cuts when neighbors and emergency crews pulled her from a downstairs window. But Tuesday she was no longer on a respirator and generally feeling better, friends said.

Back at the church, William Glover was left swimming through memories. Some good - the time Charles skipped school and brought home candy and apples for his brothers and sisters - but some more painful.

William Glover always told his brother that he'd attend church with him, share in that part of Charles' life.

"One day, I'm going to sit down in that church next to you and really surprise you," he recalled telling his brother.

He never showed up in that front-row seat next to the deacon.

Tuesday, he sat in that seat, next to the purple cloth Charles wore as deacon. Earlier, he had shuffled through boxes of old photos he found in the rubble - photos of Charles when he was 9 years old, before William was born.

"Seeing him at 9 years old :" he said, suddenly lost in the thought. "But Charles lived a good life."

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