Husband speaks out after wife killed in Dekalb house fire

Community raises funds to help the family in DeKalb County
Husband speaks out after wife killed in Dekalb house fire
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 11:03 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The husband of a Lithonia mother, killed in a house fire on March 8th, 2023, spoke out on Friday night.

DeKalb County Fire Officials said the fire started in the garage at the home on Huntington Place Circle; however, they said the cause still remains undetermined.

While Erica Rush’s husband Jonathan Rush is showing great strength, he is now left to raise his three children alone, but the community is working to rally around them.

“It’s tough in a lot of ways,” Rush said. “She was definitely a true mom, wife, and center of the home,” Rush said.

“So definitely heartbreaking to hear the loss of my wife in that situation,” he said.

Rush said he wasn’t home at the time of the fire.

“I had been with them that Tuesday through Sunday because I kind of been back and forth. My mom passed away back in May,” Rush said. “I just had been with them that Tuesday through Sunday. They were getting ready to come to pick me up. That was supposed to come to see me that Monday for my birthday actually,” he said. “I basically got notified from my brother and sister-in-law early morning of the News of what happened,” Rush said.

Investigators said other people were in the home when the fire started. Rush said this includes their three children and Erica’s brother. They all made it out alive.

“My brother-in-law, I guess he was trying to do what he could, to help and my oldest, my 12-year-old, I’m really proud of him,” Rush said. “He went and grabbed his little sister and grabbed his brother and got them out. So, between the two of them, they made sure that everyone got out safely,” he said.

It’s not the first time this family faced tragedy.

“She had just lost her mom a couple of years before. I lost my mom that May. May of last year, and she had just lost her dad to kidney failure in December. So, you know honestly, it’s just been a lot for the family in general, a lot for the kids, you know these last couple of years,” Rush said.

Rush said they lost nearly everything and are having to start over.

“Pretty much everything in there was either, if it wasn’t damaged from the fire, it’s all damaged from the smoke,” Rush said. “Everything, all the debris that was in there. The water from the fire department, so it’s pretty much a total loss. So, you know clothes, toys, personal photos-- things of that nature,” he said.

LeSean Knox-Brown is Erica’s childhood friend. He started a GoFundMe page to help.

“Erica didn’t play around with her children, so it was really important to me that, as family and friends really surrounded the kids with love and support,” Knox-Brown said. “It’s a fire and there’s also water damage, so they needed everything. You know, food, clothes,” he said.

“They’ve just been dealing with a lot of traumas, so as godfather and childhood friend, I really wanted to make sure that her family and friends really rallied around the kids, who are the most important in this story,” Knox-Brown said.

Knox-Brown said the goal is to raise $20,000, and they’ve already raised more than $7,000 to help the family in the coming days.

“I want people to remember Erica’s spirit, her smile, I want people to remember that she was a fierce advocate for the people that she loved and the people that she loved the most were her kids and so what people can do, is so what they can to loving and kindly support the children. That is the best thing that anyone can do at this point to honor her memory,” Knox-Brown said.

Knox-Brown said some of the funding will help with funeral expenses.

“We didn’t have life insurance. So, everything pretty much has been out of pocket. We didn’t have a burial,” Rush said. “That’s been difficult through the process just in terms of trying to get funding together. So, it’s definitely been an outpour of direct support, from friends, family, and the community. Definitely been thankful for that and it’s been a huge help with trying to get these services put together,” Rush said.

As Rush said through it out, he hopes everyone remembers the light his wife carried.

“Erica was the type of person that’d light up a room. She had touched the spirits of a lot of people that she would interact with. She was into photography. She had graduated from Art Institute a while back with a Video and Film degree. So, she was definitely a creative spirit,” Rush said. “I just really want her to be remembered as the beautiful woman that she was. The positive spirit that she always was. She always was the type that had a reach humanitarian heart,” Rush added.

To see how you can help the family, click this gofundme link.