Appeal-Democrat Archive Writing

Marysville tragedy remembered

September 20, 2007

Three two-by-four beams hold up what’s left of The Pink Trunk and what’s left of the apartment buildings above and behind it. One year ago, a mother and her 1-year-old daughter lost their lives in the fire that left the husk of a building that remains.

Family and friends of Crystal Porter, 19, and Katelynn Annmarie Risner gathered in front of 310 Seventh St. for a candlelight vigil Tuesday night.

About 30 people tried to make the best out of a windy evening that put out most of the candles as they were lit.

Joe Huong was at St. Joseph Catholic Church across the street from the blaze when it happened.

“I pass by here every day and say a little prayer,” he said.

A pair of doves was released in honor of the mother and daughter. The first took flight and landed in the lawn of the church and the other glided into the road. Neither tried to fly too far from the crowd, a sign the family saw as the loved ones it lost wanting to stay close.

The loss of her daughter and granddaughter hasn’t gotten easier for Michelle Porter. In front of the remains of the fire, she was at a loss when she tried to put her grief into words.

“I can’t think of anything other than how hard it is and how much you just miss them,” Michelle Porter said through her tears. “It doesn’t get easier.”

The fire wiped out The Pink Trunk, a thrift store for Rideout Memorial Hospital, and several apartments above and behind it. The windows of a neighboring apartment building have been replaced, and scaffolding along the wall shows progress, but the scorch marks still blacken the stucco walls.

The remains of the thrift store, which has since moved to 210 D St., are just three walls with a wreath in the doorway marking the tragic events.

Former Marysville Police Chief Jack Beecham said the investigation is ongoing. Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have helped look for a cause, but so far there are no definite conclusions.

“It’s hard to tell people, but these investigations take time,” Beecham said. “We haven’t forgotten about them.”

But Tuesday night was less about the investigation and more about remembering lost lives. Crystal Porter’s cousin remembered her for the amazing mother who never gave up and loved her beautiful baby daughter.

“She always had the will to conquer the world,” Heather Cortez said.

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