More than 100 people gathered at a western Kentucky church Friday evening for a candlelight vigil for victims of a house fire that killed nine family members the day before.
Those in attendance at Calvary Baptist Church in Central City sang "Amazing Grace" and sat in silence as they held lit candles to remember the family. At the front of the sanctuary stood 11 candles, two in blue for the surviving father and daughter, and nine for the ones who died on Thursday.
Killed in the fire were mother Nicki Watson and eight of her nine children. Kentucky State Police say each died from smoke inhalation.
Her husband, Chad Watson, survived along with their 11-year-old daughter Kylie. Both are in critical but stable condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
"They had a lot, a lot of precious babies that everybody in this church loved, and to think about not seeing their faces here on a Sunday morning is something I haven't quite gotten my self to wrap my head around," said friend Megan Williams.
Family members say Chad Watson went back into the burning home three times looking for his family.
Investigators say an electric baseboard heater caught the house on fire.
"When we got the call at 3:15, we were just sort of numbed at this point. And when realized this was true, we began to call on family friends and pastors and say, 'Hey, we need your help,'" said the Rev. Timothy Burden, with Calvary Baptist.
Pastor Burden says that help has arrived in many forms.
"And we just pray for them and believe it, that those two will make it," he said.
As dozens pray, they also remember the light of nine lives lost much too soon.
"They were just very good spirited and good hearted people. There's a big hole in the church and in our hearts and in this town," Burden said.
Country music group The Band Perry has stepped up to pay for the family's funeral expenses, the pastor said.
Several memorial funds have also been set up.
If you would like to contribute, donations may be made at any Old National Bank location. The account name is Calvary Baptist Church, Watson Family Fund.
A benefit account for the Watson Family has also been set up at First National Bank of Muhlenberg County. Visit any First National Bank and donate to the Watson Family Donation account.
You can also mail a payment to P.O. Box 389, 139 W. Broad St., Center City, KY. 42330.