TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The family of a mom and her two daughters that were killed in a house fire earlier this month sat down for an exclusive interview with KSNT News.

Just before 5 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, a fire was started in west Topeka. The fire killed Genny Fitzpatrick, and her two daughters, 9-year-old Peyton and 1-year-old Kourtney Tyler. The children’s father Kyle Tyler was later arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

“I was on my way to school, and my parents told me to go to my dad’s house, and they told me what happened, and I started bawling,” said Krissi Fitzpatrick, Genny’s niece.

Genny worked at a Topeka McDonalds, and Peyton was a fourth-grade student at Lowman Hill Elementary.

“Kourtney was just a baby. She didn’t really have the chance to learn her personality,” said Krissi.

Kyle Tyler survived the fire and was arrested after he left the hospital Saturday night. Shortly after his first appearance in court, the Shawnee County DA office formally pressed charges. Tyler’s bond is set at $1 million.

“She taught me to be strong. We were both very young and grew up together. She taught me not to be afraid of the big stage,” said Krissi.

The family currently has a GoFundMe set up to help cover funeral expenses.

“She taught me to be brave, and through all of this, she’s still teaching me to this day that I’m strong,” said Krissi.