Mother Remembers Devastating Fire

By Matt Markham

March 25, 2011 Updated Mar 25, 2011 at 6:47 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A week after the fire which took one of her children, Maureen Aissa revisits what used to be her home and the unbearable memories.

Maureen speaks first with Action News about the fire, Jeffrey, and the heroes of the night.

"I have no words for it, really. Lots of things flow through your emotions, you can't catch one of them on time. They just fly through you."

Maureen Aissa searches through the rubble for answers to why her home burned, and her son died.

She remembers...

"I was awoken by voices outside screaming, and I wondered what was wrong. Then I thought, why is it so bright outside? I pulled up the shade and the entire front of the house is on fire."

She quickly shouted and got her kids together -- five she adopted from foreign countries.

"Jeffrey said I think we can get out the front. I said, Jeffrey, we can't. He didn't see what I saw with the flames."

Neighbors on Milford Street rushed to get the kids out with a ladder.

"By the time I got the kids in there safely where there were no flames, I went back for Jeffrey and he was engulfed in flames -- completely engulfed in flames."

Firefighters found 17 year old Jeffrey's body in the ruin.

It's the little things the family is still finding that show his spirit in their lives.

"The very first thing we found was Jeffrey's shoe," Aissa said.

Those little things, like a card wishing Maureen a Happy Mother's Day, left untouched by the fire -- a mother who must lead her family.

"I'm doing what I can. I have other children that are looking to me for support," and many are offering the Aissa's their support.

"Everyone in the Binghamton community is acting as one. Folks that I don't know, never heard of, they're coming forward to help. Those expressions have been extremely comfortable, made us very comfortable, and helped us through some very and will continue to be very challenging days."

The Aissa's were helped out of the house by a ladder brought over by the Southee family across the street. Another neighbor and a police officer helped rescue the Aissa's, as well.

Them and other neighbors are coming forward to do what they can. The Southee's are accepting donations. With just a sign on their front porch, they have heard from a lot of people -- some they don't even know.

"Almost every day, people are dropping off money, or dropping off clothes, our foyer area is starting to fill up with a lot of clothes for Maureen. People have been really great with their support," said Miguel Southee.

Some of those people have organized a fundraiser for the Aissa family, and it will be held this weekend at Flashbacks in Binghamton. It's from 12 Noon to 5pm Sunday, March 27, 2011. It's $10.00 per person.

We'll be there to show you how the community is coming together for the family, and the heroes, brought closer together by this fire.

The Binghamton Police Department and Binghamton Fire Marshal's Office continue to investigate the fire at 20 Milford Street as suspicious.