A mother spoke on Tuesday about the horror of losing her three daughters to a house fire in Hillcrest Heights, Maryland, the previous day.
Jayla Brown, Nyjae Meade and Najahari Meade were killed in the overnight blaze in their home on Iverson Street. They were 9, 6 and 1.
The sisters’ mother, Janise Creek, said in an interview that she felt numb.
“I never thought in a million years that I would have to live this tragedy for the rest of my life,” she said.
We're making it easier for you to find stories that matter with our new newsletter — The 4Front. Sign up here and get news that is important for you to your inbox.
Bedtime on Sunday was normal, Creek said.
“If you would have told me that that would have been the last time, me kissing my babies and putting them to bed and saying good night, that that would have been my last time seeing them,” she said, trailing off.
“I don’t wish this on nobody. It’s not even a pain. I don’t know what to call it. It’s not real. This heartache is not real,” she continued.
Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information
Jayla, the 9-year-old, would have started fourth grade this fall. She loved books, science and robotics, her mother said.
Nyjae, the 6-year-old, would have started first grade. She was a goofball who loved snacks and was quick to tell jokes.
Najahari, just 1, was already walking. She was a “dancing machine” who was full of life.
The girls’ sister, an 11-year-old, survived. She and Creek were able to climb out of a window.
Nyjae and Najahari’s father, Nick Meade, escaped the fire but was still hospitalized with serious injuries.
Creek said she was told the fire started in the kitchen, near the stove. They woke up to flames that spread fast.
Jayla, Nyjae and Najahari were asleep on the second floor. The baby was found just inside the front door, where Meade was able to get to her before collapsing.
“How do I move on?” the children’s mother asked again and again.
A fundraiser set up to help the family has already raised thousands.
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.