The Boise Fire Department was reviewing its response to Saturday's mass stabbing at the Wylie Street Station apartments when firefighters started talking to Bifituu Kadir, mother of Ruya Kadir, a 3-year-old girl who was stabbed to death.
They asked her if they could do anything to help. She said she'd like a flower garden to memorialize her daughter. The firefighters got to work.
Thriftway Home Center, a supply store next to the apartment complex, and FarWest Landscape & Garden Center donated supplies. The firefighters planted the garden Thursday near Ruya's home.
Fire Department spokeswoman Char Jackson said most of the firefighters who responded to the stabbing were there Thursday.
"For them, it was just kind of a therapeutic way of dealing with the events of Saturday," she said.
A 30-year-old Los Angeles man has been charged with murder in Ruya's death. Six of the nine victims, all of whom were refugees from Iraq and Syria, remained hospitalized Friday. Local hospitals are not disclosing their conditions.
Anmar Lafta, who is related to five victims, said the conditions of the four who are still hospitalized have changed little. The four are Teba Jalil, 6; his mother Miada Jasim, 37; Ekhlas Khudhur, 23; and Khudhur’s 2-year-old daughter Miral Ghaleb.
The fifth relative, Zine Jalil, 8, was discharged on Sunday. Zine is Teba's older brother and Jasim's son.
Jasim, who was stabbed in the neck, remains paralyzed on her left side, Lafta said. He does not expect her to walk or drive in the foreseeable future.
'Culture of caring'
Thriftway Assistant Manager Tami Flores said she was working Thursday when the firefighters came into her store, telling her they had $150 to spend on the garden.
"And I said, 'There's no way. ... We're going to donate them to you guys,'" Flores said. "That's just the right thing to do."
Flores said she would've felt bad about making money off the garden, since it stemmed from tragedy. She said the mulch and cedar edging Thriftway donated were worth about $70.
The Fire Department's gesture was popular on social media. As of noon Friday, a Thursday post on the Idaho Statesman's Facebook page had received 6,700 "likes" or "loves," 2,000 shares and almost 250 comments. The overwhelming majority of comments praised the firefighters for their efforts.
"If there ever was a 'culture' of caring and compassion, it is the firefighter," Facebook user Greg Cremer wrote. "I’ve noticed that this is not uncommon for firefighters to do a selfless thing like this. All I can say is we need more folks like these in our communities. God bless their souls!"
"Leave it to the guys of Boise Fire Department to do something this kind," Teresa Moore wrote. "Thanks to the merchants who donated the materials."