Fire devastates Richmond Hill family – QNS.com

Fire devastates Richmond Hill family

An already-grieving mother made the heart-wrenching decision to take her 22-year-old autistic son off life support after he was left severely injured following a fire inside the family’s two-story Richmond Hill home.
The blaze erupted inside 107-45 131st Street shortly after midnight on Friday, January 25, killing 10-year-old Brittany Champaign and her 22-year-old brother, John Allow.
People in the adjoining house saw smoke billowing from the home and heard frantic shouting from the mother, Deborah Allow. “My children, my children,” she screamed, according to neighbors, as she tried to locate her daughter and son.
The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) investigation has determined that “the fire was accidentally caused by a plumber’s torch,” said a spokesperson.
On their way home from school Monday, January 28, many of Brittany’s friends and schoolmates from Public School 121 asked their parents to drive them to the candle-lit memorial in front of the boarded-up house.
Abigail Chatterpaul, Angelica Vino, Gabriella Ortiz and Janice Clements brightened temporarily as they shared memories of Brittany. They remembered when she made other kids laugh, her good grades, how good she was at dancing. They all agreed that most of all, “She was really, really nice. She was never mean to anyone, even when someone made fun of her.”
Many residents in the close-knit neighborhood are still in a state of disbelief.
“I can’t believe I will never be able to see [Brittany] running in front of my house ever again. It’s the worst, because you feel that these kids are your own kids,” one mother sighed.
Many of them also knew the difficulties the Allow family had faced. John was diagnosed with autism from an early age, and Brittany’s father died several years ago, leaving her mother a single parent.
Neighbors also worried that in light of the tragic deaths of her children, Deborah would be almost totally alone.
Faculty and students at Public School 121 are collecting contributions, cards and drawings to prove she is not.

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