As friends exchanged memories and sorrowful wishes at a memorial service Monday, the common sentiment was that the Price family, who were the victims of a fatal house fire Feb. 21 at their home in Glenarden, had a positive impact on whomever they came in contact with.
“It’s not just a family loss, but a community loss,” said John K. Jenkins, pastor of First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro.
The deaths of Darrell Price Jr., 36, and three of his four daughters - Daijah Price, 11, Tania Price, 8, and Patrice Price, 4, all of Glenarden - has rocked the city.
Friends, family and area residents filled nearly the entire lower seating section of the 4,000-seat First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro to show their support to mother Teresa Myles-Price and her daughter, Tamia Price, 8, who survived the blaze.
Fire officials said the fire at the 8600 block of Leslie Avenue was deemed accidental and was likely caused by an electrical issue. They estimated damages to the home at around $100,000.
Sherri Kittrell, facility director at the Palmer Park Recreational Center, who helped coordinate the girls’ cheerleading team, held back tears after telling mourners the story of how one of the girls’ great-grandfathers would take them to after-school care at the recreation center every day and give them with snacks from the vending machines.
“Every day I would fuss at him and say, ‘Cheerleaders don’t need all that junk food,’” she said. “So then, he started preparing them sandwiches. Bologna sandwiches: two for each girl. I didn’t know which was worse.”
Kittrell said the Dynasty All Stars cheerleading team met to find ways to support the surviving family members such as making cards, buying gifts and pitching in to purchase gift cards.
Cheerleading coach Denise Anderson-Smith said she was always amazed at the amount of support the Price girls received on a regular basis.
“They have a lot of family support,” she said. “They were always the first there and the last to leave. There were always like 10 people supporting them.”
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) said during the service that reading a letter in the funeral program from Myles-Price to her daughters about communicating via text message from Heaven made him think of his own children.
Glenarden City Manager Debi Sandlin said she and other officials have set up a donation center for clothing and gift card contributions at the James R. Cousins Jr. Municipal Center at 8600 Glenarden Parkway.
“We’ve had some stuff come in, but we could still use some more,” Sandlin said. “We’re putting together a flier and get that sent out and we’re advertising on our web site.”
Sandlin said the city is accepting women’s size 16-18 clothing and size 9 women’s shoes at the municipal center. Interested donors are encouraged to visit www.cityofglenarden.org or www.pricememorialfund.com for more information about how to donate.
Myles-Price was not available for comment Monday, but a letter she wrote to Darrell Price was published in the funeral program.
“You prepared me for this,” she wrote. “I won’t let you down, ‘cause failure is not an option. I love you beyond words; I will make our name count, Team Price.”