Grandfather of West Chester fire victims shouldering family through grief


WEST CHESTER, Ohio (WXIX) – A local grandfather faces the unthinkable task of planning the funerals for two of his grandchildren after they died in a fire earlier this week.

Four siblings were injured in the fire in West Chester last Saturday. It erupted on Aster Park Drive. There were no adults in the apartment.

The fire brigade saved the children, but they suffered severe smoke inhalation. According to authorities, the children were in a different room from where the fire broke out.

Alaiya Encarnacion, 2, and Bryson Brooks, 4, died Tuesday at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, according to the coroner’s office.

The oldest child, a 6-year-old, has been discharged from the hospital. A 9-month-old child continues to recover there.

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“Paramedics and firefighters did everything they could to give these children a chance,” West Chester Fire Chief Rick Prinz said on Wednesday.

Dadrickrica Ellison, the children’s grandfather, says he is deaf. He describes Bryson and Alaiya as a team.

“Bryson did all the thinking. Alaiya was something like the soft-spoken of the crowd, but the understanding of the crowd,” he said. “She had her two little brothers.”

According to the state fire brigade, the cause of the fire is still being investigated.

“It’s one of those crazy accidents, it just happened too fast,” Ellison said. “It just went too fast”

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Ellison says he’s trying to be strong for his daughter, the children’s mother.

“I’m the male figure in my family,” he said. “If I break up, the family could break up or collapse. Someone has to be the strength.”

He adds that she is doing her best.

“She trembles when she speaks,” he said. “She really is… this is the first time I’ve seen my daughter not eat.”

Ellison says the family lost everything in the fire, prompting him to create an online fundraiser for medical and funeral expenses.

“She just moved back to town, built her life and got her life back on track,” he said. “That was out of nowhere.”

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