Family mourns loss of mother after fire on Bernard Street

Family grieving after mother of two dies in fire

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The children of 36-year-old Heaven Williams, who died in a house fire on Bernard street Wednesday night, are grieving after the loss of their mother.

Ke’ani Cruz, 12, recalls the last moments she spoke with her mother.

“I was sleepin’, I woke up, and all I see was fire in my face, and I got up and rushed to my momma’s side and I said ‘Momma, we gotta go.’ She said ‘Is the house on fire?’ and I said ‘yeah.’ and I ran out the back to the neighbors’ to get help,” Ke’ani said.

“I got the neighbor. I said, ‘My house is on my fire. My house is on fire.’ And I just went down and kept knocking on doors and kept knocking on doors,” Ke’ani said.

According to Williams’ other daughter, Ke’ari Cruz, 17, her mother suffered from health problems.

“She sprained her ankle maybe Friday morning. She sprained her ankle and it was really swollen. It was swollen all the way up until yesterday. She couldn’t even step on it,” Ke’ari said.

When Rochester firefighters and police officers responded to the home at 108 Bernard St. around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, it was engulfed in flames.

Philipe Cruz, the father of both of Williams’ children, said that he drove to the scene as fast he could and found the house was on fire.

Cruz said that fire crews initially tried to keep him from entering the house.

“I pushed past the tape. I didn’t care. I had to make sure. I had to put eyes on her. Just to make sure she was okay,” Cruz said.

By then, Cruz said, it was too late and Williams had succumbed to the fire.

“I mean you move forward as best you can. We’ve dealt with death before. We’ve dealt with trauma before. It’s not something we are proud of but you just try to pick up the pieces and just try to keep it together and move forward as best as you can. Keep it together and get through it as a family,” he said.

That’s why Williams’ uncle, Clarence Thompson, is asking the community for help.

“We are all financially hurting right now, so we are just hoping that got, that want to donate, and want to help out. We want them to go to Aaron Thompson page, in face page and look up for Heaven Williams’ GoFundMe page,” Thompson said.

It’s something that Williams’ daughter Ke’ari hopes everyone will keep in mind as they mourn the loss of their mother.

“Everything she went through, she made sure her kids were always straight. It didn’t matter what happen, she was always there, always there,” Ke’ari said.

“Tell your loved ones you love them when you can,” Cruz said. “Check in on them, you know, reach out to those, while you still have time.”

Investigators have yet to release any information about what may have caused the fire. The family is currently staying with other family members while figuring out their next steps.