Aaron Bodah and four daughters lose their lives after a fire started at their Watertown, upstate NY home after an electric stove caught on fire.
A father and his four young daughters have all died in a New York house fire as the man desperately went back into the blaze and save his children, early Friday morning.
Hundreds of people gathered in Watertown for a vigil Friday night to commemorate Aaron Bodah, 38, and daughters Merissa, 14, Alexa, 8, Erin, 6, Skylar, 4.
A fifth daughter, Hailey, 13, survived after running for help on the instruction of her dad, who went from the first floor to the second of the home along Myrtle Avenue to try and help his other children.
Police Chief Dale C. Herman said Bodah showed ‘normal paternal instinct’ while noting, ‘He could potentially have escaped.’
Hailey had run to her neighbor’s home barefoot and wearing shorts and t-shirt on the instruction of her dad, who stayed in the home ‘to try to get the other family members out’, police said.
Watertown Police Detective Lt. Joe Donoghue told 7 News: ‘With our interview with Hailey, she had told us that her father had directed her to…go to the neighbors and try to alert them to call 911.’
Neighbor Bill Bellis, who called 911, told CNY Central: ‘We were awakened by a young child pounding on the door, screaming frantically that there was a fire at her house and that her four sisters and dad were inside.
‘I kicked in the front door, but with the super heated fumes and toxic stuff, I couldn’t get in the front door.
‘I walked around the side and the back to see if I could see anybody trying to jump out. After that, I went back to the road and instantly, law enforcement was here.’
A memorial is growing for the Bodah family at 906 Myrtle Ave in Watertown. A vigil is planned for 5 pm pic.twitter.com/vCg95ZaZLu
— Trish Kilgannon (@trishkilgannon) February 15, 2019
More flowers & stuffed animals continue to arrive to Myrtle Ave. in Watertown to remember Aaron Bodah and his four daughters who died as a result of a house fire.
One daughter, who escaped, is in stable condition. @CNYcentral
A candlelight vigil is planned @ 5pm. pic.twitter.com/FYyxfTXV90
— Victoria Carmen (@vcarmen_tv) February 15, 2019
Family and friends pay tribute to Aaron Bodah:
Mourners placed flowers at a makeshift memorial and released balloons and a Go Fund Me has been set up in an effort to collect donations for Hailey.
Paying tribute to her son and four granddaughters Dora Bodah said: ‘They were so happy, they were so loved. I just can’t believe he’s gone, can’t believe they’re gone. I don’t understand how anything like this can happen.’
Hailey’s aunt Heather Bodah said they ‘all are gonna stay strong’ for the teen. Aaron’s sister, Ashley, added: ‘There was nothing he wouldn’t do for those girls. Those girls had a smile on their face every day and loved being with their father.’
Investigators say it appears the fire started in the kitchen around 1:30 a.m. Thursday. They said pots were left on the electric stove and smoke detectors in the rental home had no batteries.
Authorities say Aaron Bodah’s brother lived in the house and was at work when the fire started.
Hundreds of people filled the 900 block of Myrtle Ave. tonight for a vigil to honor Aaron Bodah and his four daughters. I’m overwhelmed by the resilience this community has shown over the past 48 hours. More tomorrow in print @wdtnews pic.twitter.com/W0Heuujca3
— Sydney Schaefer (@sydneydschaefer) February 16, 2019