Guy Wilson, the father of the toddlers killed in a house fire last Friday in Sandtown-Winchester, talks about his children. (Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun video)
As Keyona Weaver lay in a hospital bed recovering from childbirth, her home burned.
The flames crept through the West Baltimore rowhouse last Friday and poisonous black smoke filled the bedroom upstairs where her two toddlers slept. They went into cardiac arrest, firefighters said, and died at the hospital.
Weaver had one baby to bring home. And two to bury: Jaliyah and Kameron Wilson, ages 2 and 1.
“It’s too much,” the mother said. “This was supposed to be the happiest moment of my life.”
Thursday evening, Weaver and the children’s father, Guy Wilson, stood outside the room in a West Baltimore funeral home where Jaliyah and Kameron lay in doll-sized caskets, side by side. Family and friends gave the parents hugs and offered condolences as a woman played a harp in the lobby.
Weaver’s ordeal began last week when her stomach cramps worsened. She left her toddlers home with her family and rushed to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The 30-year-old mother wasn’t due until April, but her blood pressure spiked and her baby’s plunged. The doctors hurried her in for an emergency C-section.
Weaver works at Amazon’s Southeast Baltimore fulfillment center. Wilson, 31, works for the Motor Vehicle Administration. The couple of several years had the two children.Then last week their third child was born, a boy. Isaiah Wilson arrived at 28 weeks, and just 2.5 pounds.
The doctors put the baby on blood pressure medicine and sedatives, Weaver said. The boy breathed his first hours by ventilator. Wilson came by after work, and they visited their tiny son. One worrisome day passed by.
In the brick rowhouse on North Mount Street in Sandtown-Winchester where four generations of the Weaver family lived, a woman across the street noticed dark smoke rising from the second floor. The heat shattered the glass. The toddlers’ aunt, Shantell Weaver, appeared in the window: “Help! Help!”
The firefighters were coming. Two miles away in the hospital, Wilson and Weaver visited Isaiah when the cellphone rang.
“I heard the kids were on their way to the hospital,” Weaver said. “That’s all I knew. I’m thinking everybody’s OK.”
Wilson pushed her wheelchair through the hall. They hurried down to the pediatric emergency room. In the crush of emotions, the parents forgot who told them, they just remember the words: “I’m sorry. They didn’t make it.”
Keyona Weaver, the mother of the 1-year-old and 2-year-old killed in a West Baltimore house fire last week, stood in the cold with a crowd of mourners at a candlelight vigil for the toddlers on Tuesday night.
On Tuesday, Weaver stepped beneath the burned-out windows of her home for the candlelight vigil. Still sore from surgery, she staggered: “Can someone help me?”
Then Wednesday, the toddlers’ great-aunt, Michelle Davis, went to the funeral home to do Jaliyah’s hair. Davis cried and tucked away a keepsake brown lock.
At the viewing Thursday, the toddlers matched in the blue and pink outfits Davis brought them. Jaliyah wore new kitty cat earrings. Family members gathered and cried before the caskets.
Weaver remembers how Jaliyah would burst into her mother’s bedroom and clap her on the cheek. “Wake up, Mommy!” Her painting from last year hangs on the wall in Wilson’s apartment in Pikesville. The girl painted an ocean with green fish, biting hooks. She wrote, “I’m hooked on Daddy.”
Then there was Kameron: chubby and a hint of smile on his face as he lay in one of their favorite photos. His blue T-shirt with a caped giraffe boasted “Super Hero.”