Hours after his return from Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, visiting the father and daughter who survived, Pastor Timothy Burden says, he's thankful Chad and Kylie Watson are expected to make a full recovery. Now, he must only remember the others, sharing their memories.
Sitting in his empty church tonight, a heavy heart weighs on Pastor Timothy Burden. "In shock," says Burden. He's still in shock after waking up to a phone call, hearing the devastating news that a house fire claimed the lives of nine members of his church. They were a family, the Watsons. Chad and his eleven year old daughter, Kylie, survive, but wife LaRae Watson and these eight children, did not. "The folks here at Calvary Baptist Church will pull together, will love each other, and will grow closer to each other, and also, to the two remaining survivors," says Burden.
Burden says Calvary Baptist Church in Central City, was like a second home to the Watson family. "I see the entire county reaching out to this family and saying, hey, we are there for you. We want to help in any way that we can," says Burden.
He shares stories of how the Watsons were childhood sweethearts, growing up together in the church. Every Sunday the family would pile into their van to hear the Sunday sermon, but this coming Sunday the pew will be empty. "I think the main thing that this family stood for, was the love that they had for one another," says Burden.
Remembering the lives lost, Burden says the family was a blessing to the church, and a family he wishes everyone could've known. "Each one brought different things to the fellowship. One maybe had a little more sense of humor than the other, and one likes to be a little more serious than the other."
Just last Sunday, Burden says, Chad Watson, announced a topic he had hoped to start preaching about to the church.
That topic was supposed to be about family. Now, the church and their community will turn to god, and each other for support. "Pulling together, loving each other, and holding on to the faith that they have in God," says Burden.
It's an empty church tonight, but come Sunday, Pastor Burden will have a grief stricken congregation in front of him. They will all remember the Watsons. "A time of unity, a time of pulling together, more so than any other subject we could talk about."
Kim Fulkerson, LaRae's sister, says she was a heroic, wonderful, loving, mother and sister.
If you would like to help the Watson family, there are two memorial funds set up. Donations can be made at Old National Bank and at First Kentucky Bank. A Watson Family Memorial Fund is set up at any of the branch locations.
A candle light vigil will be held Friday at Calvary Baptist Church.