Firefighter's 3 Kids Who Died After Fire at Home Were 'Deeply Loved,' Says Grandmother: 'Gone Too Soon'

Ezra, Autumn and Emory Day-Stewart
Ezra, Autumn and Emory Day-Stewart

Susan MacDonald Stewart Ezra, Autumn and Emory Day-Stewart

A grandmother is paying tribute to her three beloved grandchildren, who died after a fire broke out at their home last week.

Chicago Firefighter Walter Stewart's three children — sons Emory Day-Stewart, 2, and Ezra Day-Stewart, 7, as well as 9-year-old daughter Autumn Day-Stewart — died in the days following the blaze, which also killed their mother, 36-year-old Summer Day-Stewart, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

In a statement shared with PEOPLE, Susan MacDonald Stewart says that although her grandchildren "were taken too soon," they "brought enough love and pure joy into our family and this world to last us a lifetime."

"And they were deeply loved by all who knew them," she added.

Autumn Day-Stewart
Autumn Day-Stewart

Susan MacDonald Stewart Autumn Day-Stewart

Susan remembered her granddaughter Autumn, a 3rd grader, as "the light of our family."

"She was smart, beautiful, creative, loved to dance and sing and was the best big sister to her two younger brothers," Susan wrote. "She was an old soul, wise beyond her years."

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Meanwhile grandson Ezra "loved playing in water of any kind, climbing everything, playing at the park, and lots of tickles and hugs."

"Although he was nonverbal, his love for his family was evident through his affection for us," she shared.

Ezra Day-Stewart
Ezra Day-Stewart

Susan MacDonald Stewart Ezra Day-Stewart

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And 2-year-old Emory, "the joy of our family," was "always happy, smiling and laughing."

"He loved trucks, ice cream and running around playing with all the energy of a 2 year old," Susan added. "His smile was infectious and melted our hearts."

In closing, she wrote that her grandchildren are "gone too soon, loved deeply" and "eternally with God."

Emory Day-Stewart
Emory Day-Stewart

Susan MacDonald Stewart Emory Day-Stewart

The fire broke out on March 7 at the family's home on the 2500 block of North Rutherford Avenue, the Chicago Police Department said in a statement previously obtained by PEOPLE. Afterwards, the mother and her three children, who all "suffered smoke inhalation," were hospitalized "in critical condition."

According to the fire officials, their home did have smoke detectors.

A fire department spokesperson previously told PEOPLE that preliminary information indicated the fire began in the kitchen. On Tuesday, Chicago Fire Department spokesperson Larry Merritt told Today the investigation is ongoing.

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"This past week, one of our brothers, FF Walter Stewart of Truck Co. 55, suffered the worst tragedy any of us could ever imagine," Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt wrote in a statement obtained by PEOPLE, which was shared on Monday.

"Stewart was on duty at the time of the fire and rushed to the scene to help," the official wrote. "The firefighters and paramedics who responded made valiant efforts to rescue everyone in their home, but unfortunately they succumbed to their injuries."

Ezra was pronounced dead the day after the fire, while his mother died Thursday, according to the medical examiner's office. Emory and Autumn died Friday.

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The Chicago Fire Department's Ignite the Spirit is raising money to help support the firefighter's family.

"I know you join me in offering prayers and support for our brother and the entire remaining family," Commissioner Nance-Holt wrote in the fire department's statement, adding that "all of the money collected will go directly to the Stewart family to assist with funeral and other expenses."

The commissioner added, "Our Chicago Fire Department family has always been strong in the face of adversity, and I am proud of all the support that has been shown during this unspeakable tragedy."