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Community mourns five children lost in Anna Circle Fire

Hundreds attended the vigil to honor the children
Posted at 10:13 PM, Dec 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-21 06:27:31-05

BULLHEAD CITY, AZ — The Bullhead City community came together Wednesday to honor and remember the five children lost in the Anna Circle Fire. The fire broke out at a two-story duplex Saturday evening. Bullhead City Police said this is the deadliest residential fire in the city's history.

"You can’t comprehend it. It’s unbelievable," said David McMillen.

The entire region near Bullhead City, including McMillen and his wife, were left grieving this holiday season.

Christmas lights and police tape hang together near the duplex that is now surrounded by fencing.

Saturday's fire took the lives of five young kids, four of them were siblings and the fifth a relative.

The oldest child was 13 years old, and the youngest was just two years old.

"It hit me hard," said neighbor and friend Hadassh Malone. "I was shocked when I first saw it."

Loved ones and neighbors are shocked to see what's left of the home.

Those in the community shared memories with ABC15 and helped create this growing memorial.

"They’ll always have a special place in my heart," said Malone.

On Wednesday, people stopped by the home on Anna Circle to leave items or to pray.

Stockings, flowers, crosses and stuffed animals all lined the fence. Many items were left in sets of five.

Family members came to the event, held at a nearby park, but were too heartbroken to speak.

"I hope that this place becomes a place that each of us can come back and remember each of these beautiful children," said Founder of Make Bullhead Better and City Council Member Grace Hecht.

She spoke under a tree she pointed out had five large, main branches. Hecht organized the event, hoping to help give the community a space to grieve.

During the event, the hundreds who showed up shed tears and comforted one another.

Some that came were incredibly close with the families, like Yesenia Bautista.

"Hard times like this you need somebody, you know," said Bautista.

Others in the crowd were people who just wanted to support the families.

"Life is so precious," said McMillen.

He and his wife lost their grandson earlier this year in a surfing accident. The couple said the Bullhead City community showed up for their family, and they wanted to return the favor.

"This is just unimaginable," said McMillen. "They are going to need a lot of love and support long after everybody goes home."

Police told ABC15 it could take months to figure out the cause of the fire.

Bullhead City police are waiting for official confirmation from the medical examiner before releasing the kids’ names.