‘No one has come to claim her’: Rochester business owner organizing memorial service for woman who died in fire

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – 78-year-old Christine Cannon died all alone in a house fire last week, but one Rochester business owner will not let her be buried without a proper memorial.

Cannon’s body was pulled from the burning home on Hancock Street last Friday. No family members have come forward. Evangela “Van” Stanley, owner of the People’s Choice Kitchen Restaurant, has been helping those who lost everything in the fire, but she can’t bear to see Cannon buried without a proper send off.

“I want to be the voice for her. I want to speak, and let people know what kind of great woman she was,” said Stanley.

That’s because all people really know about Cannon is the fact that she died in the fire early Friday morning.

“It keeps playing over and over in my head that this woman died alone. No one has come to claim her as of yet, and it breaks my heart to know that she’s at the medical examiner’s, just sitting there,” said Stanley.

Cannon was trapped in her third floor apartment, and died before she could be rescued. Stanley is stepping in to adopt her as one of her own.

“I didn’t even know my grandmother,” said Stanley. She continued, “I didn’t get the chance to meet her. So I will look at her, even if I didn’t know her personally, as a grandmother, or God mom.” Stanley went on to say, “I was told that she was a great woman that would help out at her residence where she resided. She would go up, and down cleaning out homes, and the neighbors had great things to say about her.”

News10NBC talked to Robert Shun Smith, and Leticia Hollins hours after they safely escaped from the burning home, about Cannon.

“She was a very beautiful woman. I just went insider her apartment. I was going to service her refrigerator just the other day. You know, now she’s gone. May she rest in peace,” said Smith.

Stanley is currently putting together a Memorial Service for Cannon. It will take place at the Power House Kingdom Cathedral Church of God In Christ on Saturday February 11, at 4 p.m.

“I want balloons released. I want people to remember this beautiful woman,” said Stanley.

The public is invited to attend the memorial service. The city’s Arson Task Force is still investigating the cause of the fire. The home, which had nine separate apartments inside, was torn down Friday afternoon.