13-year-old dead in house fire: NJ town rallies around family
FRANKLIN BOROUGH — A Sussex County community has rallied to support a family following a deadly house fire in which the body of a teenager was recovered.
The fire on Friday night left 13-year-old Heaven Davenport dead, according to an online obituary posted on Sunday.
Franklin Borough police responded after 10 p.m. to reports of a fire on Nestor Street.
Fire departments from Franklin, Hardyston and Hamburg, along with Hardyston Police, Wallkill Valley First Aid Squad and St. Clare’s paramedics also were at the scene.
A GoFundMe campaign to help the Davenport family remembered the teenager as "a funny beautiful girl who had a whole life to live and was constantly surrounded by all her siblings and her loving big family," according to coordinator Victoria Caravaggio, who said her connection to the family is she is engaged to the girl's uncle, who is brothers with the teen's dad.
The online fundraising campaign had collected $36,000 by Sunday afternoon, to help the family as the fire had caused extensive damage.
A local Girl Scout troop also collected cash donations during their cookie sales over the weekend, and also pooled donations they had received for the troop last week, totaling more than $900 for the family, according to Betsy Restrepo Morse, who posted to the community Facebook group, "Wallkill Valley News & Events (NJ)."
Half of all proceeds from a Franklin Fire Department drive-thru fish and chip dinner already planned for April 10 also would be donated to the devastated family, according to an event listing on Facebook.
Franklin Borough School has counselors from its Crisis Intervention Team ready to help any student who may need it, according to Chief School Administrator John Giacchi in a letter posted to the school's website on Saturday.
Limited visitation hours and a memorial service were set for Wednesday afternoon at the Pinkel Funeral Home in Sussex, according to the obituary.
A memorial had begun near the family's home with flowers and candles, as seen in photos shared to social media by one of the teen's relatives.
In continuing to investigate the fire, including potential cause, borough police, working with Sussex County Prosecutors Office and the Sussex County Fire Marshal, noted a request that the family's privacy be respected "during their time of loss and hardship."