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Couple die in fire

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By Jenny Hartley

Married for eight years, the Omarsabriis were a couple who did everything together, their relatives say.

Early Sunday, the couple - Nakim, 35, and Jacqueline, 39 - died in a fire at their 12th Street home, leaving their families in shock.

"It's like a dream still to me," said Nakim's sister, Letitia Patterson on Tuesday.

Fighting the fire

The couple lived in an older home that had been converted into a duplex in the Brooklyn neighborhood. A neighbor called 911 at 3:25 a.m. Sunday to report the fire and kicked in the front door in hopes of saving the couple. He was unable to go inside because of the smoke.

Lancaster County Sheriff's deputies beat on the side of the house and one officer threw a stick through a window, hoping to get a response.

Antioch, Elgin, Gooches, McDonald Green volunteer fire departments and the city of Lancaster Fire Department responded. In all, 35 firefighters fought the blaze.

Firefighters found the couple together in a first-floor bedroom.

The fire appeared to have started behind the stove, said Lancaster County Fire Marshal Stephen Blackwelder.

The State Law Enforcement Division, county fire investigators and the Lancaster County Sheriff's Department say the fire does not appear suspicious.

The home had a smoke detector, but it did not have batteries in it, Blackwelder said.

Families in mourning

Nakim was born in Buffalo, N.Y., but his family moved to Lancaster when he was 2. He had three sisters and an older brother.

Patterson described her brother as outgoing, outspoken and sensitive. He loved to cook and go fishing. He was a character who made everyone laugh.

"He loved his wife very much," Patterson said. "He loved his family. They did everything together."

The father of two daughters, Nakim attended Lancaster County schools and worked in poultry processing at Tyson Foods.

Jacqueline Omarsabrii, known as Jackie to her family, was born in Lancaster. She graduated from Lancaster High School in 1987 and earned an associate's degree in business from York Technical College. She was a U.S. Navy veteran who served in the Middle East, repairing aircraft engines.

She had a daughter, Jaki'ya Duncan, who lives on her own and attended S.C. State University, and a son, 13-year-old Kevont'e Campbell, an eighth-grader at A.R. Rucker Middle School. Kevont'e was staying with his aunt, Tammy Duncan, at the time of the fire.

Jackie's father, Willie "Bill" Reid Sr., said his daughter was a loving person and good to her children. She was smart and wanted to make sure her children got an education.

Jackie worked in Charlotte for a photo-developing company, where she was a supervisor, said her aunt, Martha Cunningham.

"We're praying. We're sticking with each other," said Cunningham, when asked how the family is getting through the loss of Jackie and Nakim. "We're a religious family and we know that God does heal wounds."

Cunningham described Nakim as generous and kind. He cared for Jackie's children like they were his own and cared deeply for his wife.

"They were a couple that showed love for each other," Cunningham said.

Now Jackie's family has to stay strong and support Kevont'e, she said. The 13-year-old will live with his aunt, Tammy.

Nakim's family is also in their prayers, Cunningham said.

"They've been here with us, and we'll be here for them," she said. "We're sharing in their grief. We have to embrace each other's families."

Contact Jenny Hartley at 283-1151 or jhartley@thelancasternews.com