Story courtesy Channel 8 WoodTV
Location: Buffalo, NY
Date Of Injury: February 19, 2016
A father of three was killed after saving his 8-year-old daughter from a burning building Friday morning.
The two-alarm house fire happened at Litchfield and Humber Avenues in Buffalo, New York.
The father was identified by family as 24-year-old Demetrius Johnson. His three children were all injured during the fire.
Treasure Brighon, the 8-year-old, was taken to a local hospital after suffering severe burns to 90 percent of her body. She is in the process of being moved to Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Cincinnati, Ohio — a facility that the American Burn Association says meets the “highest standards of burn care.”
Treasure is in critical condition. Shriner’s sent a transport team to take Treasure to the hospital in Cincinnati via jet.
The mother, Tempest Thomas, will not be able to fly on the jet to Shriner’s, but is being assisted by authorities with gas cards to help her drive there. She was not injured during the fire.
Demetrius Johnson Jr., 3, and 15-month-old Demaris Johnson were also taken to a local hospital. The 3-year-old is being treated for smoke inhalation and is in stable condition at the hospital’s intensive care unit. Demaris is said to be in good shape.
Two firefighters suffered minor burns and were taken to the hospital.
Witnesses say the family of five had just moved into the downstairs portion of the building one week prior to the fire.
Another man and a person whom witnesses say was his uncle lived upstairs in the two and a half story building. The uncle was killed in the fire.
Numerous fire trucks were on the scene trying to put out the flames after the 4 a.m. blaze began, reportedly in the first floor’s kitchen area.
Firefighters continue to investigate what may have sparked the blaze, but severe damage is hampering the investigation. In total, the damage added up to $150,000.
Later in the morning, an excavator arrived to investigate the scene. The house was too unstable for officials to go in before that. A partial demolition began Friday afternoon. During the demolition, however, neighbors say a dog which must have survived the fire ran out of the basement.
The American Red Cross is helping the families affected with donations, clothing, food and more.
A witness at the scene appeared angry as a result of the fire, saying, “People lost their lives because of these slum landlords out here.”
The owner of the Humber Avenue home, Sayara Uddin, lives in New York City. News 4 spoke with a resident of Bailey Avenue who said conditions in the home were terrible.
The resident claims there were problems with hot water and basement flooding. In addition, the Bailey Ave. resident also said the front door did not close properly.
Despite this, the Buffalo Housing Court says there was no record of housing violations at the address.
Masten District Councilman Ulysses Wingo, Sr. says the he’s worked throughout the day to establish a network of people willing to donate and lead the charge to help the families get back on their feet.
Hours into his quest, Wingo said he’s been inundated with those willing to help the family through the tragedy, along with other fire victims in the home. Mt. Hope Community Church is accepting donations to help the family — including funds to help the mother of the 8-year-old girl get to Cincinnati to be with her as she is treated for severe burns.
A service will be held tonight at Mt. Hope Community church dedicated to the family at 1326 Broadway. The community is welcome to attend and help raise funds for the fire victims.
To call Wingo’s office, dial 716.851.5145 and to reach Mt. Hope Community Church call 716.602.6676.
UPDATE: MARCH 13, 2016
BUFFALO, NY – A mother from Western New York is back with her daughter in a Cincinnati hospital Saturday night thanks to a charity flight service program.
Tempest Thomas was transported once again to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Ohio where her daughter Treasure Brighon is being treated for burns suffered in a Buffalo fire back in February.
Thomas had returned to this area for housing arrangements after her fiancé died in the fire after rescuing their children.
Pilot Joe DeMarco of Wings Flights of Hope was again at the controls for this flight. He says they’ll continue to provide these flights free of charge.
“When Treasure’s ready to come home, Wings will be there for every flight back and forth,” he says. “We’ll transport her for as long as she needs to go to Shriners. She pretty much broke down and she had a tear in her eye saying I can’t believe someone would do that for my daughter, but that’s what Wings is about.”
Thomas says her daughter continues to fight as she undergoes treatment and operations for her burns. She recently blew her mother a kiss which shows she is aware of her presence.
UPDATE: APRIL 28, 2016
It is with our deepest regret that we must report that Treasure Brighon perished from her burn injuries. May her young soul rest in peace. Read more.