PICAYUNE, MS (WLOX) - It's been a heartbreaking weekend for the families of a Picayune couple. A father and mother and their baby boy all died of smoke inhalation after their home caught fire early Saturday morning.
That day also happened to be the day their baby turned seven-months-old.
On Sunday loved ones were at the charred home trying to find all of the couple's important documents and salvaging whatever was left of their belongings.
Three people were in the scorched home on Bennett Street in Picayune when a fire erupted Edward Parker a 65-year-old Vietnam vet and Bronze Star recipient his 29-year-old girlfriend Nancy Cooper a devoted mother to their son Jeremiah Parker Cooper.
Officials say all three were found inside this bedroom once the flames were put out.
"The coroner told us that he, the three of them, had passed and it was of course devastating to hear that. We're still pinching ourselves and trying to make sure that it did happen and it is real," said Parker's older sister Pearl Ducre.
Family members including Parker's only daughter Sabrina Hamilton were at the home searching for important documents and what salvageable possessions were left. Hamilton says officials told her the fire started when the stove in the kitchen was left on. The loss has loved ones recalling the kinds of people Parker and Cooper were.
"A neighbor said the other day he was the backbone of this community. He just did so much for everybody and never expected any pay and I know God has rewarded him," said Ducre.
"She was a likeable person and he seemed to love her very much," said Parker's older brother Calvin Dees Sr.
Besides having to deal with their loss, family members say looters were seen inside the home several hours after the fire.
"Though we don't understand, we trust God enough to believe that he knows what he's doing and that all is well. And I know Edward is smiling down on us today with that great smile that only he could give," said Ducre.
Family members say Parker will be buried at the Biloxi VA. We're told his girlfriend did not have life insurance. Many viewers have reached out to WLOX on Facebook wanting to know how to help, if you're interested in helping call 504-224-1161.