The community is struggling to come to terms with a fire that authorities say killed five people in Greene County, New York this week.
Authorities say they were called to the fire at 6:37 a.m. Monday on Route 145 in East Durham. The house fire killed Nicholas and Mary Mammano, both 68, and their three grandchildren: 10-year-old Jonathan, 8-year-old Jayden and 7-year-old Sophia Mammano. John Mammano, their father, made it out of the house with severe burns.
New York State Trooper Steven Neval said Wednesday the scene was processed by State Police in conjunction with fire investigators from the Office of Fire Prevention and Control and the Greene County Fire Investigation Team. Neval says the investigation continues.
“Investigators were on the scene of a two-story single family structure for 17 hours. The surviving occupant, John Mammano, remains in critical condition suffering from burns to his face, hands and arms,” says Neval
The 34-year-old is being treated at the Clark Burn Unit in Syracuse. His brother Joe Mammano Spoke with NewsChannel 13 Thursday.
“They said the burns on his face will take about two months to heal and his arms are pretty wrapped up so they’re hoping his arms will heal pretty well. According to the doctors I talked to this morning they say he’ll make a 100 percent recovery, it’s just going to take a long time to heal,” says Mammano
Police have yet to announce details about the deaths. However, Cathy Ballone, Nicholas and Mary Mammano’s daughter, tells WAMC News they have spoken to the medical examiner.
“We’re told that they did die from gases that were caused when the fire first started and not from smoke inhalation so they died peacefully in their sleep, which was wonderful to hear,” says Ballone
Ballone says her brother John was expected to wake up Thursday.
Joe Mammano tells WNYT authorities do have a theory.
“They think that the space heater may have malfunctioned and caught the couch and they said I think within a half an hour the whole house was engulfed,” Mammano
All three children were students in the Cairo-Durham School District. The district said in a statement Monday, “Our condolences and thoughts go out to the Mammano family during this very difficult time.” Superintendent Anthony Taibi says the district would offer grief counseling after spring break.
The three also played in the Cairo-Durham Little League, where Michael Murphy is the former president.
“The family themselves were very involved with their grandchildren and very involved with getting them with the Little League program. They just seemed like probably the nicest people you’d ever run into. Nothing fazed them, it was always a positive attitude, a very good outlook on life. It was a tragedy what took place,” says Murphy
A memorial patch with Jonathan’s name and number will be on his team’s uniform this season.
State Police are asking anyone with information about the fire to call 518-622-8600.