East African Community unites in grief over 5 lives lost in Seattle fire
June 18 2010
From all over Seattle they've come, bound by an unfathomable tragedy that has shaken them to their roots.
Members of the area's East African community streamed through Seattle's Yesler Community Center this week to grieve alongside the family of the woman and four children who perished in Saturday's apartment fire in Fremont.
While those killed in the blaze were members of the city's Ethiopian community, the mourners — representing a variety of homelands, regional cultures and beliefs — have been nonetheless united in grief.
"In a situation like this, everybody comes through, regardless of what tribe or religions," said real-estate agent Ezra Teshome, one of Seattle's first Ethiopian immigrants.
"Everyone comes to pay their respects in any way they can and is giving what little money they have ... . Everyone is deeply hurt."
A public memorial is set for 11 a.m. Friday at Seattle Center's KeyArena. Those expected to speak include Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and a representative from the Church Council of Greater Seattle.