As the sun set on Wednesday, March 27th, 2013, a community came together at Preemption United Methodist Church.
On Wednesdays, the church hosts a community meal. However, this week's meal was followed by a vigil for the five lives lost in a mobile home file early Wednesday morning. Pastor Cindy Rettig tells News 8 that the family would go to the community meals and "became part of our church family by love."
"We've really taken them in as part of our own and so this is a loss for this community and especially for this church family."
Tonight, Pastor Cindy stood before a standing room only sanctuary, leading the community prayer with five candles on a mantel behind her - each lit to represent a life lost.
"The family that I've been closest to has just been stunned and shocked and are still trying to come out of the this horrible nightmare," Pastor Cindy told News 8 afterwards. "That's exactly how they've described it is a nightmare they wish they could wake up from."
Jenny Brasmer, a mother and community member, was the first one to arrive at the vigil.
"It hits hard that it's a small town and everybody knows everybody," she told News 8. "You just want to go home and hug your kids even more and if they ask those silly questions you just look at them and smile because you never know what the next day will bring."
In fact, most of the church's crowd were kids, many of them friends or knew the four young victims of the fire who all went to schools in the Sherrard School District.
"It's just going to be hard when they go back Monday that they won't be there and see them and I just feel bad for the families and I pray that they'll get through this," says Jenny.
Many people have contacted News 8 asking if and how they can donate to the family. Friends of the family have mentioned putting donation jars in gas stations throughout the community, but more information is expected in the coming days. News 8 will continue to keep you updated right here on WQAD.com