7-year-old killed in 3-alarm fire identified

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A seven-year-old has died following a three-alarm house fire in Buffalo’s Lovejoy neighborhood.

The fire broke out just before 3 a.m. on Benzinger Street, between William and Ludington Streets. When fire crews arrived, they found large flames and heavy smoke billowing into the sky. Crews reportedly backed out of the home because of the heavy flames.

Fire officials rescued as many as three people, including the seven-year-old who died. Later on Monday, a family member confirmed to News 4 that the boy’s name was Anthony Conti.

The conditions of the other two people are not yet known.

The American Red Cross is helping three adults and four children. The whole family was home during the fire.

Neighbors are calling on the community to help the family however they can. “They lost everything, so they will need a lot of support,” said Father Vlad Zablotskyy, the priest at Sts. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church, who lives across the street.

Father Vlad says he and his wife are godparents to the youngest child who lived at the house on Benzinger Street, adding that the children range in age from three to 18 years old. With Anthony, the Conti family had seven children.

He says he woke up to the sound of glass breaking in the family’s home during the fire, and says it was difficult to watch the situation unfold.

“Devastating. Heartbreaking, because I know them well,” he told News 4.

Other neighbors are also grieving with the family who lived there today. “Great family. Their kids are respectful. Their manners are just great. Their parents brought the kids up just so great. If anybody could do anything to help this family out, it would be appreciated, because they’re really good,” said neighbor Dawn Richards, her voice cracking with emotion.

“I just lost a daughter two years ago, so it’s going to be hard for them because it doesn’t get any easier,” Richards said.

Donations are being collected for the family. Find the GoFundMe fundraiser created for the family here.

Non-money items can be taken to the Mead Library at 126 Ludington St. Click/tap to see a Facebook post listing the needed items.

Officials have not given any word on what may have caused the fire at this point.

A vigil will be held Monday at 7 p.m. at Saints Peter and Paul Church, 44 Benzinger St. It is open to the public.

Fire officials are expected to address the media at 2:30 p.m. Monday.

This is a developing story. Stay with News 4 on air and online for the latest information.

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