Family and friends said they were inseparable, whether playing football or Power Rangers, they were best friends who went everywhere together. And so it was at their funeral.
KiDonn Pollard-Ford, 7, and KrisDon Pollard-Williams, 4, who died of smoke inhalation resulting from a June 30 fire that swept through their North Versailles apartment, were laid to rest in a single white casket, together always.
“That’s the way they were,” said their grandmother Carmen Pollard after services at Hillcrest Seven Day Adventist Church in the Hill. “You take one, you have to take the other.”
Fire investigators said the blaze started in a bedroom adjacent to where the boys were found in their third-floor apartment, and may have been caused by an air conditioner that they are still examining. KiDonn, discovered under a pile of clothing, was pronounced dead at the scene from carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning. KrisDon, who had hidden under a bed, died the next day at UPMC Children’s Hospital.
Though investigators said there were no accelerants used and the cause is still being assessed, the fire was hot enough to burn through to the second floor apartment below. The blaze also forced the evacuation of the other 26 units in the East Pittsburgh-McKeesport Boulevard
Apartment complex.Firefighters were initially hampered in gaining entry to the apartment by a reinforced door with a deadbolt lock. They eventually used a hydraulic spreader to force the door open. Inside they found the boys alone. “The only thing we know is the fire was within that apartment and the kids were definitely alone,” Allegheny County police Assistant Superintendent James Morton said. “We’re just trying to determine who’s responsible.”
The children’s mother Kiaira Pollard, 27, was at work when the fires erupted, but upon rushing to the scene became hysterical and had to be taken to she became hysterical and had to be taken to UPMC Presbyterian for observation. She later told investigators the boys had been left with a babysitter.
She sobbed throughout the July 8 service for her sons. KiDonn’s father, Brandon Shelly-Ford, said he was only marginally better.
“I cried for three days,” he said. “I couldn’t stop.”
KrisDon’s father, Christopher Williams simply reiterated what others said about the boys being the best of friends.
“You couldn’t separate them. They were beautiful babies,” he said.
So far, no negligent homicide charges have been filed, but Allegheny County homicide Lt. Andrew Schurman said they would be.
“The person responsible for leaving them alone will be charged,” he said.