Victim of Walnut Street house fire grieving after losing two children
SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- A South Bend family is grieving after losing everything to a house fire on Thanksgiving morning, including two relatives.
Loretta Page, 71, was asleep in her home on South Walnut St. in South Bend when she woke up to thick smoke.
“I saw smoke and it was so dark, it just seemed like it was a dream and I said ‘Oh my goodness, this is a terrible dream,” said Loretta Page. “I must be dreaming.”
Page escaped with her 13-year-old granddaughter, Ja-Channa Page, onto the porch roof after she kicked out an air conditioner attached to the upper-level window.
Page recalled screaming for help before seeing a neighbor who had already called the fire department.
Tanyette McCormick, 46, and William McCormick, 40, died in the fire due to smoke-related injuries.
“I’m really blessed to have known them… been their mother,” said Page.
Tanyette and William had mental disabilities, but that never stopped them from living their lives, according to Page.
William joined the 4-H Club and Special Olympics when he was younger, consistently winning medals, according to Page.
“You never heard him complain about how his challenges may have kept him from having certain things in life,” said Page.
Page described Tanyette as a woman who constantly wanted to help others in need, while simultaneously accomplishing her own goals.
Tanyette celebrated her 9th year of sobriety in 2019.
“She was an amazing woman,” said Page. “She loved to volunteer, help.”
The South Bend Fire Department had just installed three new smoke alarms and one carbon monoxide alarm for free in November.
Page credited those installations for saving her life.
“The rest of my life is never going to be the same,” said Page. “I know that and I really miss them.”
The family made funeral arrangements with Palmer Funeral Home, but they are still working out how to pay for the expenses, according to Page.
The family is also looking for clothing, shoes, appliances and any useful items. If you want to donate, click here.