Family and friends gather at church to remember Watson family - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Family and friends gather at church to remember Watson family

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MUHLENBERG CO., KY (WFIE) -

Nine candles burned on Friday night for the mother and her eight children who died in a house fire.

More than 100 people packed the Calvary Baptist Church in Central City for a time for prayer and reflection.

Family and friends who knew Nikki and the eight children who lost their lives on Thursday said it has been tough, but getting love and support from the community is making the grieving process a little less painful.

"Right now I'm kind of numb," said Amber Lear, who is a cousin to the Watson family. "I understand they are gone.. but I guess it hasn't set in all the way."

Every pew was full at the church while tears shed for the lives lost in the tragic house fire on Thursday morning.

"It seems more like a nightmare than reality right now," said Amber.

Family members clung to each other as the pastor and the Muhlenberg County Sheriff shared words of faith.

"It's not something you think will ever strike home," said the sheriff. "Yet here we are."

Candles were lit as those in attendance took a moment in the darkness to remember the nine smiling faces they will never forget.

The Watsons were a family described as loving, caring, and rich in heart by all.

"We all knew them and we were all touched by them," said Ashlye Caskey. "Just by hearing their voice, just seeing their smiling faces cause they always smiled."

Less than 48 hours after the devastating loss, friends and family said the grieving process has just begun, but feeling the warmth of the community is bringing them some comfort and their heartbreak.

"I've gotten messages from people all over the world, not just in the U.S.," said Amber. "It's tragedies like this that make you have to be with your family because they can be gone in the blink of an eye."

Knowing there are two survivors, 46-year-old Chad, the father, and 11-year-old daughter Kylie, is enough to lift their spirits and give them something to hope for.

The Calvary Congregation will come together for a church service on Sunday for the first time without the entire Watson family.

The pastor says it will be a difficult day; one they'll probably always remember.

Both Chad and Kylie remain in Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

One family member told 14 News Chad had 4th degree burns on his body and is still in critical, but stable, condition.

Kyle is doing better but has severe burns, especially to her face.

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