BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Lovejoy community is spreading their love and wrapping their arms around the Conti family.
Seven year-old Anthony Conti died in a house fire early Monday morning. 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.
The parents and six of their seven children made it out of the home safely.
Sources told News 4 the fire was ruled accidental. Sources say it appears the father lit a cigarette with a blow torch, set the blow torch on the bed and the mattress caught on fire.
News 4 interviewed the father before the information about the blow torch was released.
“The whole bed was blazed and I just started to put the bed out , I tried putting blankets over it, there was just nothing I could do,” said Joseph Conti, father.
Conti said his son Anthony was the most loving son. “He was amazing, he was the most beautiful boy you’d ever seen with these big eyes, always smiling.”
Since the tragedy, the Lovejoy community has showered the family with donations.
Hundreds of people gathered at a neighborhood church Monday evening, praying with the family and remembering a life lost too soon.
“You’re seeing the community come together like never before to take care of this family, because this family is broken right now. We are heartbroken over it and this community is feeling the pain,” said Leonard Lane, President of Buffalo Fathers Organization.
“It’s the love of Lovejoy. I have lived here all my life and when anything happens, Lovejoy comes together as a family, I wouldn’t have expected anything less,” said Lisa Swain, a friend helping the family with a place to stay.
Anthony’s organs have been donated so that others may live.
A Go Fund Me has been created to assist the family.
Donations are being collected at Sts. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church at 45 Ideal Street.
Non-money items may also be taken to the Mead Library at 126 Ludington St. Click/tap to see a Facebook post listing the needed items.
Organizers ask that only new items be donated.