“We’re going to be okay; Adams family mourns loss of Edna Mae Williams and Gerald ‘Jerry’ Prince to Worcester fire
Members of the Adams family could walk up and down the stairs from their three floors at 13 Jaques Avenue, easily entering each level to be with each other. With generations living under one roof, there was a tight-knit family.
This strong bond is what will now propel the Adams family through unimaginable loss.
On Friday evening, flames quickly ravaged the building, killing two and seriously injuring another. On the first floor of the three floors, the fire claimed the lives of Edna Mae Williams and her son Gerald “Jerry” Prince. Trying to escape the blaze, Woodrow Adams Sr. jumped from the third story deck.
“My grandmother was the pillar of the family. She held us all together, ”recalls Woodrow Adams Jr., who grew up in the house but no longer lives there, recalls Saturday morning. “She made us all individually feel special in our own way.”
Prince grew up in Worcester and played basketball for North High School, Adams said. After suffering a stroke, Prince was paralyzed on one side of his body. Adams’ mother became his babysitter.
On Friday night, after the fire started at around 7:30 p.m., Adams received a call telling him that the three-deck owned by Adams’s parents was on fire and that authorities were trying to get people out of the building.
Adams hopped in his car and rushed off, praying the whole way. Finding out that his grandmother and uncle didn’t make it immediately shocked him, he said.
“We have faith. We firmly believe that God is in control, ”Adams said. “I was just praying the whole way.”
On Saturday morning, Elder Adams was still hospitalized. He suffered burns and a fractured pelvis.
Adams’s parents live on the top floor of the three-story, family friends live on the second floor, and his grandmother and two uncles live on the first floor.
“We’re going to be fine,” Adams said.
Young Adams is an officer at the Worcester courthouse. He is also well known in the community for his support of young people through his organization Forever Young.
In a tweet on Saturday, Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. prayed for the family.
“One of our beloved judicial officers, Woodrow Adams, and his family suffered a horrific tragedy last night in the Jaques Avenue fire. Not only is Woody a beloved member of the courthouse community, he gives so much back. Our thoughts and prayers are with Woodrow and his family, ”said Early.
Adams started a GoFundMe page to help his family rebuild.
“Following the 5 alarm fire on Friday February 12, 2021, we lost my grandmother and my uncle. The fire also destroyed the property of my parents, grandparents and family friends, ”reads the GoFundMe page. “My family means so much to the neighborhood / community and now I am asking for your help.”