Norwalk family of girl, 7, killed in fire ‘grateful’ for community support

NORWALK — The family of Summer Fawcett, the 7-year-old girl killed in the Nelson Avenue house fire this weekend, expressed their gratitude for “each message, offer and show of support” in the wake of the tragedy.

Fawcett, who turned 7 on May 8, died from her injuries at Norwalk Hospital Saturday after firefighters pulled her from the burning home.

The state’s chief medical examiner on Monday said Fawcett died of complications from thermal injuries and smoke inhalation. Her death was ruled an accident.

Her father, Blair Fawcett, who also attempted to rescue her, remained at Norwalk Hospital Monday in fair condition, a spokesperson for the health network said.

The girl’s mother, Lindsay Fawcett, has been discharged from the hospital, the spokesperson said. Their 9-year-old son, Blair, is in the care of family.

“Both families of Blair and Lindsay Fawcett want to thank everyone for all the love, prayers and donations to the Fawcett family’s GoFundMe. The outreach from the neighborhood, the school, the softball league, the greater Norwalk community, Norwalk police and fire department has been so incredible, and our family is so grateful for each message, offer and show of support,” a spokesperson for the Fawcett family said in a statement on Monday.

More than 1,000 contributors have raised more than $100,000 through an online fundraising campaign to help the family with medical bills, funeral expenses and the cost of replacing their heavily damaged house, according to the GoFundMe campaign, which was organized by a relative of the Fawcett family.

Summer Fawcett was a first-grade student at Cranbury Elementary School. She had also attended Tracey Magnet School. Cranbury Principal Jennifer Masone said the school community has felt the support of the whole city.

“Our hearts go out to the family and everyone impacted,” Masone said Monday. “Very important to me is this has been a city response. Our school community has felt supported by the mayor, the fire department, the police department, the superintendent, the NPS Crisis Team and several other agencies. It’s a whole city that is surrounding us with support and love.”

Approximately 20 members of the Norwalk Public Schools Crisis Intervention Team and four clinicians from the Mid-Fairfield Community Care Center provided grief counseling for teachers, staff and students on Monday and many will remain in the school over the next few days, according to James Martinez, education administrator for counseling and social services.

All clinicians are trained in Trauma Informed Care. Students were referred to a crisis team member throughout the day as needed for individual support. School staff members also received support services as needed.

Teachers were provided advice on how to communicate the tragedy with students, including encouraging them to be kind to each other as part of the grieving process.

The clinicians advised teachers to resume normal activities after they spoke with students about the incident “since children benefit from routine,” said Mary Yordon, president of the Norwalk Federation of Teachers.

“We are committed to helping our students through these difficult days and stepping up for our colleagues who are most impacted,” Yordon said. “We appreciate the professional and highly supportive framework that has been rapidly assembled.”

A list of resources was also sent home to parents as well as tips on how to speak to their children about the tragedy.

Mayor Harry Rilling also visited with Cranbury teachers and staff before school on Monday and said the student’s death was “an unimaginable tragedy.”

“My heart goes out to the parents of Summer Fawcett, Blair and Lindsay Fawcett, as they mourn the inconceivable loss of their 7-year-old daughter,” Rilling said in a statement. “This family is known among many in our community for their kindness and loving nature, and I hope they know that the city and the entire community are here for whatever they may need.”

Norwalk Fire Marshal Broderick Sawyer said Monday the cause and origin of the fire remains under investigation.

The Norwalk Fire Department responded to the Fawcett home shortly before 5 a.m. Saturday and found the two-story structure engulfed in flames. The family’s two cars were also on fire in the driveway, and there were charred power lines that had fallen in the street, according to officials.

Crews used a ladder to pull the child from a second-floor bedroom. EMTs then rushed her to Norwalk Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The blaze is under investigation by the Norwalk Fire Department’s fire marshal division, state police and Norwalk police detectives, which is considered routine for fatal incidents.

Property records show the Fawcett family has owned the wood-framed Nelson Avenue house for more than eight years. The 1,300-square-foot home, which was constructed in 1926, is among the oldest in the neighborhood.

Links to the online fundraiser were widely shared across social media this weekend. In a Twitter post on Sunday, state Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, urged people to contribute to the campaign.

“As a community, we support each other when our neighbors need it the most,” Duff tweeted. “I’m certain, the response will be overwhelming.”

Donations can be sent by check to The Fawcett Fund c/o Price Snedaker, 14 Haviland Street Unit B1, Norwalk, CT 06854. Checks can be made out to Blair or Lindsay Fawcett. The family spokesperson is also encouraging donations for gift cards.