Vigil honors 3 family members who died in Worcester fire

WORCESTER, Mass. — It was a Valentine’s Day filled with love and loss for neighbors on Jaques Avenue in Worcester; pained hearts, trying to stay positive.

“I wouldn’t miss this for anything,” said Karen Forbes of Worcester.

Dozens upon dozens gathered in front of a charred triple-decker, clasping candles and holding back tears, remembering the three lives lost during a raging fire Friday night.

Woodrow Adams Jr., a well-known court officer in Worcester, spoke fondly of his family members who didn’t survive.

“We will celebrate the legacy of those lost in this fire,” he told the crowd. “This is tragic but I promise you, with the faith of God, with the strength of the community, with everyone who is supporting us and standing by us through this tough time, we will make it through this.”

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Adams Jr. identified the victims as his father, Woodrow Adams Sr., his grandmother, Edna Mae Williams, and his uncle, Gerald Prince.

“He loved everybody. If you walked through this neighborhood, he would speak to you,” he said, describing his father. “He’s here in spirit, he’s not going anywhere. He will forever live for me, live through everyone who is out here, anyone he’s ever had contact with.”

Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty also attended the vigil, telling Boston 25 News that he wanted to show his condolences to the family who had lived in the home for generations and always gave back to the community.

“They’ve been a staple in this community for 40 to 50 years and really kept this neighborhood alive,” he said. “It’s going to take months to heal, but we’ll be with them all the way.”

Fire officials confirmed that Adams Sr. had jumped from the third floor to try and escape. He later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.

According to the Department of Fire Services, Adams. Sr.’s death was the 11th fire-related death in Massachusetts in 2021.

“You are all loved and appreciated; we thank you. We thank each and every person standing out here with us,” Adams Jr. said.

Two homes in total were damaged in the fire, which is still under investigation.

A GoFundMe to assist the family has been set up by Adams Jr and has already grown to over $100,000.

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