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Fire victims farewelled

Jeremiah Lale (bottom right) leads the funeral procession for his wife Teukisia and five children Jerry, Paul, Lafoa’i, Sela and Richie. Teukisia and the children were tragically killed in a house fire.
Jeremiah Lale (bottom right) leads the funeral procession for his wife Teukisia and five children Jerry, Paul, Lafoa’i, Sela and Richie. Teukisia and the children were tragically killed in a house fire.

SIX members of a former Goodna family killed in a house fire have been farewelled in an emotional memorial service.

Jeremiah Lale, the only member of his immediate family to survive the blaze at their Slacks Creek home last month, gave a heartfelt eulogy to 2000 mourners at Hillsong Church, Mt Gravatt.

Mr Lale's wife, Teukisia, and five children - Jerry, Paul, Lafoa'i, Sela and Richie - died in what was believed to be Queensland's worst house fire.

The family lived in Layard St, Goodna until early this year.

Police escorted six hearses to the church for yesterday's funeral, with Mr Lale sitting in the front of the hearse carrying his wife.

About 100 family members gathered around the hearses and consoled Mr Lale, one of three survivors of the blaze, who was unable to save his young family.

Huge bouquets of flowers adorned the white coffins.

The sombre mood was broken when Mr Lale gave a touching and humorous tribute to his family, spoken in English and Samoan.

Mr Lale remained composed as he told the story of how he met Teukisia.

"I asked if she would marry me, and she was over the moon. She'd never met a beautiful man like me," he joked.

He spoke lovingly of his children, who were aged eight to 18, including the second-born, Paul, who "was beautiful like me but short like her".

"I know God gave me five beautiful kids. They made me happy, they made my family happy," he said.

As he gazed at their coffins, Mr Lale said to his children: "Take my heart, I will always love you very, very much. I know you're all up there in God's land."

A funeral for the other victims will be held on Saturday.

The other two survivors were family patriarch Tau Taufa and Misi Matauina, who lost his partner and two daughters to the fire.

Topics:  funeral hillsong church house fire memorial


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