30 years later family members still feel the loss from Winn Dixi - WFLA News Channel 8

30 years later family members still feel the loss from Winn Dixie fire

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Tuesday is the 30th anniversary of a very violent day in Tampa Bay history.

On July 2nd, 1983 Billy Ferry walked in to a Winn Dixie store in Palm River and ignited a fire that killed five people.

It was an event that shocked our community and made national news.

Five people died in the days following his attack.

Leigh Anne Carter was working at the cash register. She was 20 at the time and died from her injuries

Martha Jean Vance, who was 27 at the time and her 4-year-old daughter, Jennifer Jean, were also killed in the fire.

A first responder would say years later that the four year old girl walked up to him, her skin was falling off. She wanted a hug. The first responder would need therapy after the incident.

Melody Darlington who was also 27 and her niece, 16-year-old Misty McCullough were also killed.

A total of 13 others suffered burns, but lived through the ordeal.

Jim McCullough lost his sister Misty and his aunt Melody in the fire.

He says his father never got over the loss of his sister, "She was a really great girl, had a lot of future. She was 16 at the time that she died and Junior in school."

He also fondly remembers his aunt, "She was a year and a half older than me and we grew up together like brother and sister."

Billy Ferry is now serving five life sentences for the crime. He has never taken responsibility for his actions.

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