PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — She lost her sister and all of her possessions in a raging fire in the Hill District.

Now, the elderly woman is speaking out about how she’s holding up.

After the smoke finally cleared on Shawnee Street and light showed all that was lost, 91-year-old Katie Johnson remains.

A day after she lost her 95-year-old sister, Thelma Witherspoon, her home and everything but the shirt off her back, Johnson is relying on her faith and her church of 78 years to pull through.

Witherspoon and Johnson are some of the oldest members of the Bethel AME Church in the Hill District.

The congregation is a large one, but its members treat each other like family, so when Johnson lost everything in the fire – including her sister – the congregation stepped up to help.

Johnson is staying with church members who lovingly call her mom.

They rushed to her side, watching her memories burn with them consoling her when firefighters confirmed her sister wasn’t able to make it out in time.

Even though her pictures of Witherspoon are gone, the memories remain.

On Thursday night, she reads the Bible to comfort her in a time of such great despair.

“Like today, you’re going to have difficult times, but God is going to be with you,” she said. “Don’t worry about it. He’s got your back. He knows what you’re going through.”

Elderly Woman’s Body Recovered After Hill District Fire (1/29/14)
More Reports by Christine D’Antonio

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