SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - Heartbreak continues in Schenectady after three children and their father were killed in a house fire which investigators believe was set intentionally, as a fourth child fights for her life.
On Thursday the sister of the victim, 32-year-old David Terry, tells the NEWS CENTER she believes her brother died a hero, saving his daughter 5-year-old Saf'yre from the fatal Hulett Street fire.
She lost her brother, niece and two nephews, but Liz Dolder says it is because of David that Saf'yre is alive.
Investigators say there was no escaping the flames and smoke last Thursday morning in the two-story apartment building on Hulett Street. The fire killed David Terry and his children, 1-month-old Donovan Duell, 2-year-old Michael Terry and 3-year-old Layah Terry.
The fire has been ruled an arson; forensic evidence investigators believing the fire was set in the hallway next to the children's bedrooms.
Fire fighters entered the home, and found body after body. Then, they found David Terry's body with his arms wrapped around his 5-year-old daughter in an attempt to shield her from the heat and smoke. Saf'yre's head was tucked inside her father's chest, which may have kept her from breathing in the deadly fumes.
"You know his favorite superhero was Superman. And he was a super father. He I'd the best he could with the tools he had," Liz Dolder said. "He was selfless."
The former boyfriend of the children's mother, 27-year-old Robert Butler of Saratoga Springs, has been charged with first-degree arson in connection to the fire.
Saf'yre remains in a Westchester burn unit.
A fund has been set up to raise money for the three headstones of the children who died and to help Liz travel to and from the burn unit.
Donations can be made to the "Terry Family Memorial Fund" at any SEFCU bank branch.