Candlelight vigil held for teen who died after fraternity party

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Dozens gathered by candlelight at Briarhurst Park in Williamsville Saturday to remember Nolan Burch.  The 18 year old died Friday after attending a fraternity party at West Virginia University.

John Malinowski said, “He was a hard kid not to like. Yea, we all really cared about him.”

“He was a funny guy, rough, toughest guy I knew, always playing sports together, always knew how to make me laugh. He was my best friend,” said Jake Berke.

Just hours after Burch was found unconscious at the Kappa Sigma party late Wednesday, Berke traveled to Morgantown, West Virgina to be with him in the ICU.

Burke explained, “I was just by his side the whole time, I just needed to feel his warm hands one last time, it was just so sad.”

Before he died, friends and family gathered in his hospital room playing “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”  They played it again at the vigil.

Morgantown Police have not released Burch’s cause of death but they are investigating whether alcohol and hazing were involved.

The fraternity was no longer recognized by the university. The group’s charter was revoked just days before Burke’s death for unrelated code of conduct violations.

A close friend says the Burch family doesn’t hold the school responsible.

“If he could do it all over again the family would send him back there, so the family doesn’t want to deter anyone from sending their kids away to school, but inform them that they’re adults now and have to be responsible for themselves,” said JR McKenna.

Burch’s family and friends hope to ask the town to rename Briarhurst Park after the teen. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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