Family honors three killed in Sterling house fire on first anniversary of incident

Updated: May. 30, 2021 at 5:54 PM CDT
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STERLING, Illinois (KWQC) - On June 1, 2020, a man set fire to a Sterling apartment complex, killing 49-year-old Carrie Hose, and two children, 13-year-old Celina Serrano, and her cousin, 8-year-old Shyla Walker.

Now almost one year later, the victim’s family are honoring their lives and remembering the tragic incident.

“I got a call from my grandson that there was a fire and I needed to come over there right away because he had just seen his sister being pulled out,” says Grace Myers, Celina’s grandmother, “I was in shock. I was in shock. I could not cry, I was just in too much shock at that time when I found out.”

One year later, the heartache is still raw.

“It’s like you don’t want to believe that it happened but when you see that every day she is not with us, it’s sad, it’s very sad,” says Myers.

Her grandmother says Celina was one to try everything.

“She loved cheerleading, basketball, gymnastics, everything. She got into track, she just loved life,” Myers says.

On Sunday, the family honored Celina and the other victims with a catholic mass service in remembrance of their lives.

“It’s a lot of grieving and sometimes it’s every day that you grieve, and it’s very heartbreaking. Even just remembering her and saying her name makes me cry, because she did not deserve to go so soon. She was a loving child and she did not deserve any of this. So it does make me cry and makes me emotional, makes me very emotional,” Myers said through tears, “I am just emotional when I know that her plans did not go through how she wanted.”

A candlelight vigil will be held at the western apartment complex in Sterling on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.

41-year-old Steven Coleman of Rock Falls has since been arrested on warrants for aggravated and residential arson in connection to the fire. He is charged with six counts of first-degree murder.

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