Rensselaer community mourns fire victims

March 12, 2018 05:55 PM

RENSSELAER - A community in Rensselaer continues to mourn after an early morning fire on Sunday that killed two adults and a child.

Three people died in the fire -- 68-year-old Safia Alblakhi, 41-year-old Monzalah Alshami and 8-year-old Aymen Alshami. The 8-year-old was a student at Van Rensselaer Elementary School. Alblakhi and Alshami were his grandmother, and mother, respectively.

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Meanwhile, we're learning the mother had initially escaped after jumping out of a second-floor window with her 17-year-old son, but died after running back into the burning building to try and save her family.

NewsChannel 13 is told the 17-year-old son who survived is in the ICU at Albany Medical Center and is able to talk. He is a quarterback and basketball player in the high school. He is expected to survive.

The 16-year-old daughter -- who just enrolled at Siena College, is in a Syracuse burn unit in critical condition with burns to over one-third of her body.

People continue to talk about what a nice family this is— school district put out info on how to help children grieve. We've got it on our website

— Kumi (@KumiTuckerWNYT) March 12, 2018

8yo Ayman Alshami was a third grader.

— Kumi (@KumiTuckerWNYT) March 12, 2018

Police say there were smoke detectors in the house, but it's unclear where they were or if they were functional.

Autopsies were done on the victims Monday.

The father was working at the time of the fire.

A memorial at the fire scene continued to grow on Monday – with balloons, stuffed animals, candles and pictures.

A crowd gathered for a vigil on Sunday evening to show support for the survivors and honor the victims.

People continue to talk about what a nice family this is. The school district put out info on how to help children grieve.

You can find everything at the links below:

GoFundMe: Rensselaer fire victims

Community Hospice: Grief support

Rensselaer County Department of Mental Health

Helping children deal with grief and loss

How and when children should attend funerals

Helping children cope with loss, death and grief


WNYT Staff

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