HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) This has been a tough week in Huntington following the deaths of a man and three children in a house fire on Monday, April 20, 2020.
30-year-old Dontae Keeton, 8-year-old Kiana Keeton, 3-year-old Korbin Leonard, and 2-year-old Kyson Keeton all died during that fire. Now, Jonna McCoy-Singleton, Dontae Keeton’s mother, is trying to cope with a mother’s worst nightmare.
The silence is almost deafening at what used to be the Keeton home on Cottage Street. A memorial continues to grow outside of what’s left of the house where Dontae, Kiana, Korbin and Kyson died early Monday morning.
Jonna McCoy-Singleton says she got the news from Dontae’s girlfriend, whom she calls a daughter. She says she thought it was a dream.
“Everything that she knew to be her reality and her life is now gone,” said McCoy-Singleton. “So we have to continue to be the family and stick together.”
Dontae loved music from the time he was a baby, and so did 8-year-old Kiana, who was in the church choir and whom McCoy-Singleton calls her ‘star,’ McCoy-Singleton says music has always been a big part of how her family gets through tough times.
“(Dontae is) love, he’s kind, he’s generous,” McCoy-Singleton said. “He’s my baby, even though he’s a grown man, he’s my baby.”
She praised Brandon Witlen, the man who got Dontae out of the home and tried to save the children.
“We keep (Brandon) in our prayers because I know that’s a moment that he’ll never forget,” she said. “Thank you for trying to save my son’s life. It was such a selfless act.”
And even in her darkest hour, suffering unimaginable pain, she still finds room for gratitude.
“(To) the community, thank you for loving my son and my grandkids and loving us,” McCoy-Singleton said as she held back tears.
All the family is asking right now is that everyone keeps them in their thoughts and prayers as they deal with this heartbreaking loss.
At this point, investigators say the cause of the fire was accidental.