FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Members of a North Texas church are mourning three of their own, who were killed in a fiery crash Sunday afternoon.
Five members of Stewart Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church were driving along Jacksboro Highway to a church function in Azle when the Kia Soul they were in collided with a minivan.
The Kia Soul burst into flames upon impact.
The driver and passenger escaped with their lives but suffered severe burns on their hands and arms trying to save the three passengers who were in the backseat.
Family members identified the victims as church pianist, Lilly Smith, Henry Sims, 80, and 15 year-old Walter King.
By the time help arrived, it was too late.
The victims were all very different, but they had one thing in common: their love of God.
“Mrs. Smith, she was our pianist and that morning, she was praising the Lord, just happy,” said Nicole Rose, a family of Sims.
King had developmental challenges, according to family members, and sang in the church choir.
“I don’t car what Sunday you came to church, Walter was smiling and would come up to you like this because he was always wanting hugs,” Rose said.
Sims was an outgoing joker, who celebrated his 80th birthday in January.
Friends and family say they feel solace knowing the three beloved victims are with the Lord.
“I was at peace. I think he’s okay,” said Pam Peyton, Sims daughter. “He was on his way doing what he loved to do, getting ready to go sing and praise the Lord.”
The cause of the fire of the Kia Soul has not been determined but government records show 2010 and 2011 models of the Kia Soul have been previously recalled due to fires. Those models of the Kia Soul are susceptible to fires due to wiring.
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