“Heartbreaking:” Parents speak publicly for first time after losing 3 of 4 children in house fire

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SHEBOYGAN -- They experienced the unimaginable. Just over a year ago, on January 26th, 2016, Chris and Kristie Maki lost three of their four children after a fire in their home in Sheboygan Falls. They shared their grief Sunday, January 29th at their church in Sheboygan.

Eleven-year-old Natalie Martin and her two brothers, 10-year-old Benjamin Martin and seven-year-old Carter Maki died as a result of the fire that happened at their family home near 5th and Western in Sheboygan Falls on January 26th, 2016.

Their nine-year-old sister survived.

The children were home alone on the night of the fire -- their parents at Bible study.

Sheboygan Falls fatal fire

Sheboygan Falls fatal fire

Sheboygan Falls fatal fire

Sheboygan Falls fatal fire

Three children died in Sheboygan Falls house fire, home being boarded up

Three children died in Sheboygan Falls house fire, home being boarded up

Fatal house fire in Sheboygan Falls

Fatal house fire in Sheboygan Falls

"There are days where it is really hard to get out of bed -- where I would rather just hide," Kristi Maki said.

For the first time, Kristine and Christopher Maki shared their pain publicly -- speaking to their pastor at Crossroads Community Church.

"I wake up and I feel like everything is 50 pounds heavier," Chris Maki said.

Kristie and Chris Maki

Kristi and Chris Maki

The family of six is now a family of three.

Kristi Maki said the nine-month mark was especially tough.

"I had this awful realization that my kids were gone for the same amount of time that I had carried them, that I was pregnant with them. It was heartbreaking," Kristi Maki said.

Chris and Kristi Maki on Sunday thanked all of those who have shown support -- from strangers at vigils to those who prayed over their children's bedside.

Kristie and Chris Maki

Kristi and Chris Maki

"They prayed for God to do a huge crazy miracle and bring him back," Kristi Maki said.

Their pastor said their strength is an inspiration.

"In the midst of that pain, in the midst of that suffering, in the midst of that struggle, there can be hope. There can be encouragement," Jeff Jager, senior pastor at Crossroads Community Church said.

"God kept us here for a reason. He has got something big planned for us -- something big planned for Jenna," Chris Maki said.

The Maki family has moved since the fire -- donating the land where their house once sat to Habitat for Humanity.

Maki family home

Maki family home

Investigators learned the fire began in a corner of a basement playroom near a light fixture.

3 comments

  • Mel

    This TRAGEDY could have been prevented had the parents BEEN RESPONSIBLE and not left their children home alone. I find it ABSOLUTELY APPALLING that these parents, being white suburbanites were not fully investigated for neglect by CPS and charged criminally for this incident! Because all of you know that if they were any other color they would have been indefinitely. I cannot feel sorry for these religious zealots or their loss. The only person and people I feel sorry for is the nine year old that survived the fire and her now deceased brothers and sisters. Seriously WHO CARES WHAT THESE IDIOT PARENTS HAVE TO SAY they are a disgrace to parents everywhere as they put “bible study” over the definite safety of their children. CROSSROADS CHURCH IS A BRAINWASH CHURCH OF SCAMS ANYWAY!

    • Mel

      Again tell me why leaving ANY CHILDREN UNDER 12 was not charged as GROSS NEGLECT OF A CHILD AND REPORTED TO CPS!!!!!?????

  • Juneau Ave

    good kids a kind family .. they raised the kids right.. it was not a fire set by the kids or a house not taken care of.. but a family.. that Mom and Dad went to church.. for a couple of hours..not a party at a bar or drug popping parent that went to the casino.. and funny how none of you are on the feed of the Mother in jail because of the death of her 2 year old in a house of junk… stop just stop and help your families.. your neighbors and be the families of faith you all scream you are.. for if your God that you believe in is watching.. kids he does not believe in you anymore….

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