8-year-old hero Tyler Doohan dies in fire after saving six other people, now family is fighting over donation money


8-year-old Tyler Doohan asked to spend some time at his grandfather’s trailer the Sunday before the MLK Jr. holiday Monday, but things turned deadly in the early hours of Monday morning when a fire erupted in the home.

There were nine people in the trailer when the fire started at 4:45 a.m. The Penfield, NY fire department believe the blaze started from electrical issues. Tyler woke up first and then woke up six other people, including two cousins, ages 4 and 6. After six of the relatives, including his cousins, grandmother and aunt, where safely outside, he ran back in to wake his 57-year-old grandfather Louis J. Beach, and his disabled uncle Steve Smith (54,) but he never returned.

“I’ve cried so much. I’ve cried so much it just doesn’t seem real,” his shocked mom Crystal Vrooman told the local news.

To compound the grief over the deaths of the young boy and two men, the family is now fighting over donation money raised by a concerned neighbor. Theresa Fiorica initially set up the fund via YouCaring.com in an attempt to raise at least $5,000 to help pay for the child’s funeral expenses. “My intention was to pay for the memorial service,” Theresa told Fox News. “I didn’t think that it was going to go as far and as big as it did.”

The donation amount, which is in Tyler’s mom Crystal Vrooman’s name is now over $55,000, and Crystal hopes to buy herself a house with the money. “My son just got lost in a huge tragedy,” Vrooman told FoxNews.com. “Do you think I want to move into a trailer? I want a nice house [as] I have always been telling the kids, and to give my kids a great school district.”

Tyler’s father (and Crystal’s ex) Jason Doohan and Tyler’s uncle Joseph Breyette, have concerns about Crystal’s intentions for the funds. “My actual fear is that she is not going to use the money properly,” Doohan said. “My son is the greatest kid I’ve ever known. Use [the money] the right way, on what Tyler would want it to be spent on.”

“My biggest concern is that the money is going to be mismanaged and the people who went through the tragedy are going to be forgotten,” Breyette said. “I would prefer someone court-appointed, not her, should have control of that money.”

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  • Guest

    Wow incredibly sad. Sounds like little Tyler was the most decent person in that family. What a shame that they are now fighting over donations..

    • Jules

      I agree. I really don’t think people would have donated so much to their family if they were aware that the mother would want to spend it on a house. There’s so much more she could do with that, like set up a memorial fund, a scholarship fund, donate it to a children’s hospital or fire dept, the list goes on and on.

  • Kelly

    Why didn’t one of the adults run back in for the other family members?!

  • Guesrues

    I can’t imagine losing a child. Or seeing the overwhelming support and donations that this has brought about. But I also can’t really understand as a mother who just lost a son having the mentality of “my son just died. I deserve a house.”

  • sara

    Not to take away from his heroic actions… but 9 people in a trailer? And why was he the only one going back in? Why not one of the adults?

    • LULU

      Stop reading my mind!! I said the say thing.

  • twelfthnight

    So it wasn’t even his mother’s house that burned down?

    She sounds like Farrah. “Oh it’s such a tragedy I lost my son but I want a nice house”. “…hopes to buy herself a house”..Priorities, lady! You “hope to buy a house” when you win the lotto, not when your 8 year old son probably died a painful death trying to save his family.

    I have exactly 0 children, but if my son died less than a week ago I’m DAMN sure my first thoughts would not be on a house, ESPECIALLY not if mine was still standing and my other children had a home still. I would be laying in bed losing my mind missing my child.

    She really sounds like she does need someone to have control of that money. The dad sounds like a really decent dude, especially since he isn’t vouching for himself to have the money, but instead for a mediator to take control. I can’t imagine the loss he must be going through.

  • Mrs C.

    I feel so bad for the family who was pulled to safety by this heroic angel, if it was me I would feel guilt beyond words for not going in myself. Now the mother, she sounds a little shady, the ex should try to get the money handled by a responsible court appointed person. I want a house just sounds so cold and heartless.

  • anjealka

    If people donated for the child’s final expenses, the extra money should be returned or something should be done in the child’s name (like starting a scholarship fund or donating it to a an non-profit that is involved with sports or activites the child loved)

  • Maiko Higa

    give the money back

  • Heather

    They should donate the extra money….or maybe put it in a college fund for his siblings?