MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas -- Hundreds of people crowded a benefit for three children killed a week ago in a house fire in Tamina.
Friends, family and others touched by the tragedy crowded two rooms of the City Fellowship and Life Center Church.
They donated money and kind thoughts, including words from one of the victims' teachers and the police officers who tried to save three children killed in last week's fire.
"Terrance brought prayer into our classroom," said Paula Hall, TJ Mitchell's math teacher. "In all my years of teaching, it was the first time I was encouraged to openly pray with my student."
"We tried everything we could to save (the children), but we couldn't," said Officer Patrick Reade of the Shenendoah Police Department. "But we will always be here for you all. I don't care if it's 30 years down the road, we're going to be here."
"Our heart just goes out (to the family)," said Dr. Marcus Barnum, minister of the Tamina Church of Christ. "Everyone was struck because this could have (haven't) anyone."
The children's mother, April Johnson, and their father, Terrance Mitchell, sat on the front row. Both hugged every speaker. Neither spoke publicly.
Last Friday morning, they lost their 13-year-old son TJ, 6-year-old daughter Kaila, and 5-year-old son Kyle, when the home of Pastor Bobby Johnson, Jr., the children's grandfather, caught fire.
Three family members, including 10-year-old Adrian, survived then spent several days in a hospital.
Money raised during the benefit is supposed to help with family medical expenses, hotel bills and pay for three funerals.
The fire's cause that is still under investigation.
© 2017 KHOU-TV