Two adults, eight-year-old boy killed in Fondiller Avenue house fire

Posted at: 01/20/2014 6:10 AM
Updated at: 01/20/2014 5:34 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri

Three people have died in an early morning house fire in Penfield. One of the victims is an eight-year-old boy, who died trying to help others.

Sheriff’s Deputies say the victims are 57-year-old Louis Beach, 54-year-old Steve Smith and 8-year-old Tyler Doohan. 

News10NBC is learning more about three people who were killed in a mobile home fire in Penfield Monday morning. One of the victims is an eight-year-old boy, who gave his own life to try and save his family.  Many people are calling that young boy a hero. Fire officials believe he escaped the fire, but went back in to help rescue others trapped inside. Not only are people in the neighborhood where this happened remembering eight-year-old Tyler Doohan, but so are his teachers and friends in the East Rochester School District, where Tyler was in fourth grade.

The investigation into the fire is still in the very early stages. There are a lot of unanswered questions, included what sparked the fire. Many people have stopped by the scene to leave teddy bears and crosses. 

Darci Miller, neighbor, said, “It’s sad. It is so sad. They were good, good people.”

The fire chief says Tyler was visiting his grandfather, Lou Beach, and decided to spend the night. The chief believes the young boy was the first out of the house when the fire broke out. Many people are calling him a hero. 

Tyler was a fourth grader in East Rochester. News10NBC spoke with the East Rochester School Superintendent. 

Richard Stutzman, Jr., Interim Superintendent said, “Tyler was a very caring young man, always had a smile on his face.” Actually I just got an email from one of our staff members, who when they heard Tyler had gone back in, or continued to help his grandfather get out of the burning building, they were not surprised at all. That's the type of young man he was, and in my heart and the heart of East Rochester, he's a true hero.”

The East Rochester School District and the entire neighborhood in Penfield are mourning. 

Miller said, “I just had to bring a cross and a bear to let people know they were good people.”

Darci Miller lives down the street from Louis Beach and his family. She told News10NBC how Lou always plowed people’s driveways. He was the neighbor you could always count on for a smile and a wave.

Miller said, “I heard a commotion and that woke me up.”

But Terry Ricci never imagined what was about to happen next. 

Ricci said, “I heard them all running on the ramp, so I knew something was wrong. I headed for the front door and that’s when she pounded on the door. I opened it and she said, ‘Help, help, my house. Look at my house.’”

That woman pounding on her door was Beach’s wife. Ricci immediately called 911 and went outside to help. As he saw the flames take over the home, his heart broke.

Ricci said, “They were yelling, ‘My father is in there, my son is in there.’ I couldn't imagine.”

Statement from the Interim East Rochester Superintendent Richard Stutzman, Jr. :

With great sadness, the district confirms one of the three victims of an early-morning fire in Penfield was a fourth-grade boy at our school.

It is extremely important to remember that according to emergency personnel, the 9-year-old boy was the person who discovered the fire and tried to wake the eight other people in the residence at the time.  In bravely and selflessly giving his own life, he was able to save the lives of six others -- and he is truly a hero.

Our principals, psychologists, and other support staff are working today (Monday, Jan. 20) to contact the families of his classmates; counseling and support will be available to all students and staff Tuesday.


Some local fire departments, like the City of Rochester, offer free smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors to families who qualify. Click here for a list of local fire departments and contact information to see if your department can help you and your family.

Safety Tips:
Provided by Firemen's Association of the State of New York and National Fire Protection Association

- Test smoke alarms/detectors at least once a month by using detectors’ “test button.

- Clean the units by vacuuming or dusting in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

-Install new batteries in all smoke alarms/CO detectors at least once a year on the day you change your clocks in the spring and fall

- Install a smoke alarm and CO detector near sleeping areas, as well on every level of the home, including the basement

- Do not paint smoke alarm/CO detectors

- Because smoke rises, alarms should be mounted high on walls or ceilings.

- Smoke alarms/CO detectors should not be installed near a window, door or forced-air register where drafts could interfere with their operation.

- Notify your local fire department when your detector sounds.  However, before calling, make sure to identify whether or not the device is simply sounding due to a low battery.

- Read the detector’s packaging and instructions to understand the difference between a true emergency and a simple maintenance issue of a dead battery or an expired detector, as the detector may emit different sounds for each situation. If it is a real activation, call 911 and evacuate immediately.

- During and after a snowstorm, make sure all vents connected to stoves, furnaces, and fireplaces leading outside are clear.