Memorial Planned for Two Killed in Lynchburg Fire

Philemon Onyango (left), Victor Kwatemba (right)

Reporter: Rachel Schaerr l Videographer: Dan Heffner

Lynchburg, VA - Friends of Philemon Onyango and Victor Kwatemba are holding a memorial service Thursday at 6:00 p.m. on Liberty University's campus, in the Pate Chapel.

Philemon Onyango and Victor Kwatemba were in their basement apartment on Valleydale Drive, in Lynchburg, when it caught fire around 5:00 a.m. Sunday.

Onyango's girlfriend, Janae Bryant, was also in the basement but managed to escape. Neighbors woke-up to her screams that early morning but by the time firefighters got there it was too late. She says the last three days has been like reliving a nightmare.

She says she dated Philemon Onyango for six months and says she's trying to stay strong for him, because that's what he would have wanted.

"Even like a couple of days after the incident, I still like taste smoke in my throat. Like, it hasn't been easy. I still break down. I might walk around and try to smile, because I know that's what he'd want me to do. But it's hard," Bryant said.

Onyango's friends are trying to raise money to send his body back to his native Kenya. Bryant estimates it will cost well over $5,000, money his family doesn't have.

They want to bury Onyango next to his father who died when he was just seven years old, Bryant says. Friends are asking anyone who wants to make donations to call (434) 426-9066.