- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2017

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) - The parents who lost three children in a Wisconsin house fire spoke publicly for the first time over the weekend since the January 2016 tragedy.

Chris and Kristi Maki spoke on Sunday at Crossroads Community Church about their journey toward healing. The couple said their growing faith has helped them over the past year, the Sheboygan Press (https://shebpr.es/2kjisG4 ) reported.

Thick smoke trapped the three children inside the home in Sheboygan Falls on Jan. 26, 2016.

The couple’s 9-year-old daughter, Jenna, escaped after her 11-year-old sister, Natalie Renee Martin, led her to safety. Natalie went back inside to try to rescue two other siblings, 10-year-old Benjamin Martin and 7-year-old Carter Maki, but the three died of complications from smoke inhalation. Natalie was honored posthumously with the Carnegie medal for civilian heroism.

The parents joined Senior Pastor Jeff Jaeger at a small table on the stage as Jaeger asked the couple questions, including how they were doing.

“For the most part, surprisingly, we are doing OK,” Chris Maki said. “Relatively speaking, we are good. Life in general is happy like most lives, but everything has a tinge of sadness in it.”

His wife noted that one especially hard moment came nine months after the fire, when she reflected on how her children had been gone for as long as she carried each of them during pregnancy. She said some moments are extremely sad, but that they look forward to their “home in heaven that will be perfect and good and free from this sadness someday.”

Jaeger said the arrangement for the parents to speak at the church came about when he was on the phone with Kristi Maki and asked if it would be therapeutic for her and her husband to tell the family’s story. She said yes.

The couple, who has been a member of Crossroads for four years now, said they’re grateful for the support of their church.


Information from: Sheboygan Press Media, https://www.sheboygan-press.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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