Woman loses 5-year-old son, father in apartment fire: 'Hold your kids close'

Piera Johnson was killed in the fire on June 1. (photo provided by the family)
Piera Johnson was killed in the fire on June 1. (photo provided by the family)

SPRING GROVE VILLAGE, OH (FOX19) - "I wish I could have it back and just redo… even if It's only for five more years I wish I could have it back and redo it," Lacrisha Johnson said.

Johnson lost her only son and her father in a deadly apartment fire in Spring Grove Village on June 1.

She said if she could ask for anything it'd be time. Time to plan the birthday party for her son, Kenneth Lowe, who had just turned 5-years-old and was excited for his weekend celebration.

"All he wanted was a cake, he didn't care what he got... he just wanted a cake. I told him I couldn't get that cake, and now I never get to spend another birthday with him," Johnson said.

She said the birthday celebration never happened and was instead alerted of the tragic situation.

"They came to my door at 2:29 and told me that my kids had been in a fire and I'm thinking maybe it was just a fire around where they were and it was just smoke inhalation, but I get there and my kids are burned up," Johnson said.

Kenneth and his sister Donae were rushed to the hospital with severe burns to their bodies. Kenneth died one week later on June 7.

"He fought a long hard fight, they were saying he was going to be dead the first night and he fought all the way to my birthday... June 7," Johnson said. "He was amazing, he was funny he was goofy - every time you saw him he had a smile on his face.

Her father, Pierre Johnson, was killed that same night when the fire broke out on Kings Run Drive. She said he had only been in her life for six years, but they were working to build a relationship.

"When we met it was like, 'OK, I want to have a relationship with you,' the relationship turned into him moving in and we turned into the best of friends because he was goofy and we had real conversations," Johnson said. "It feels like a dream. If it wasn't for Donae I don't know where I would be."

Donae, now her only hope, is recovering in a hospital bed with 72 percent of her body burned.

"Donae has lost fingers, she lost the heels in her feet, she lost part of her butt, she lost a lot of tissue," Johnson said. "I have to look at my daughter every day and be reminded of this - it's just terrible,"

She said faith and family are helping her to cope. Her mother, Deena, has been by her side every step.

"Your grandchildren are just extensions of your children. So it's  like losing my own baby… if I couldn't reach and touch Lacrisha the way I'm touching her... that's how deeply its hurting me," Deena said.

Lacrisha and Deena said to cherish every single moment with you children because you don't know when that time will be taken away.

"A lot of things I could have done and it's a lot of things I wish I could have gave them. It's just a lot, hold your kids close and never let them go because you would never imagine that the next day… that they'll be fighting for their lives," Johnson said.

The funerals for Kenneth Lowe and Pierre Johnson are Saturday, June 16, at Bethlehem Baptist Church with the service starting at 10 a.m.

If you'd like to help out the family, you can make a donation on their gofundme pages.

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