Vigil, funds set for three fire victims

DULUTH - Family and friends of three young sisters killed in a house fire have planned a communal prayer vigil and established memorial funds to honor them.

The victims - Amirra Wingfield, 12, Dairien Wingfield, 17, and LaToya Jackson, 19 - died when a fire broke out in their Howell Park townhome, trapping them in a third-story closet. The two younger siblings were pronounced dead shortly after the fire Friday, and the eldest died the following evening.

The Howell Park Townhome Association invites the public to a prayer vigil tonight to remember the sisters. The rain-or-shine event is planned for 7:30 p.m. at the Duluth Town Green in downtown Duluth.

The event is also meant to cull support for the victims' mother, and for firefighters "who risked their lives to try to save this family," said Nicole Love, associate director of Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services, who lives near the family.

The girls' mother, Estella Jackson, escaped the fire by jumping off a second-story deck, authorities said. Officials believe the fire started in a first-floor bedroom beneath the kitchen. The cause is under investigation.

"(Jackson) has lost everything in the fire, and our community has been devastated," said Love in a release. "We have been rallying as a community to organize some support."

Supporters also urge financial contributions, which can be made using the following information:

· For checks or other monetary contributions: The Wingfield Memorial Fund, PO Box 891 Winder, GA 30680

· Contribute to a trust fund at any Bank of America branch called The Wingfield Memorial Fund, listed under account number: 3340.2532.2777