Family friend starts GoFundMe page after tragic Butler Township fire

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BUTLER TOWNSHIP, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A deadly fire destroyed a historic home in Butler Township Friday morning, killing two people and severely injuring one.

Patrick O’Boyle, a longtime friend of the victims, created a GoFundMe to lend a helping to the victim’s family as they try to put their life back together.

It’s been just days since siblings, 29-year-old Alison Houser and 13-year-old A.J. Charriez, were found in the rubble of a deadly fire in Butler Township. That same fire severely injured their mother, Tara Houser. Their family, still in shock, returned to the house on Sunday.

Patrick O’Boyle, who has been Tara’s friend for many years, spoke on behalf of the grieving family. He explained what happened that terrible night.

“Tara and Alison and A.J. sought refuge to a roof outside the window and after Tara made it through the window, A.J. got scared, we assume, got scared and ran from the window and Alison went back after her brother. And Tara was trapped on the roof and during a rescue attempt she had fallen,” O’Boyle said.

A wreath of flowers is placed where officials found Alison holding A.J. during their last moments. O’Boyle says there is no insurance on the historic home, and the family’s vehicles are a total loss. He says Tara has also gone through multiple surgeries after she was flown to Geisinger Medical Center.

“From everything that I’ve been told by the family, she’ll probably never have use of her hand and wrist again. She had neck surgery yesterday and they’re planning back surgery, with the lower broken back. And the ribs at this time are stabilized and they’re not sure yet if she will ever walk again,” O’Boyle said.

O’Boyle estimates the cost of the hospital bill and damages to the home to be in the million dollar range. That’s why he started a GoFundMe page to help the family.

“Tara has always been there for me in my darkest times, anything that I ever needed we talked through and we did this together for many years and we’ve always been there for each other and I wanted to do something,” O’Boyle said.

Sunday was a very emotional day for O’Boyle as this was the first time he visited the house since the tragedy. When he arrived he was surprised to see the house was still smoking.

“It was difficult coming down the driveway and I just believe Alison and A.J. were reaching out and that’s why we saw two days later…They’re here,” O’Boyle said.

O’Boyle hopes to raise $20,000 for Tara and her family. So far they’ve raised more than $5,000.

He says people have also donated clothes and furnishings for the family and are also signing condolence and get well cards to give to Tara. You can contact O’Boyle at 570-527-1927.

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