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Names of children, father killed in Schenectady blaze released
SCHENECTADY -- A father, his two children and step-son were killed Thursday morning in a house fire at 438 Hulett Street.
Neighbors called 911 around 4:30 a.m. to report the fire. Firefighters were finishing up an unrelated fire nearby and were able to respond within minutes. A family living downstairs managed to escape without any minor injuries.
“I just woke up out of a dead sleep and heard yelling and screaming upstairs. We got the kids out and got the two dogs out,” said James Moloney, who lived downstairs.
Police confirmed David Terry, 32, Layah Terry, 3, Michael Terry, 2 and Donavan Duell, 11 months were killed. Safyre Terry, 5, was flown to the burn unit at Westchester Medical Center. A woman who identified herself as the children’s aunt said Safyre had burns on 95 percent of her body.
“I was sleeping and just saw the flames and then I heard someone saying my baby and that was the grandmother and that's when we saw them taking out the bodies,” said neighbor Jessica Galvan.
Around noon, investigators began walking through the home with specially trained dogs to search for accelerants. Firefighters have not determined how the fire started.
Family friend Carlos Silva was at the home Wednesday night and told investigators he did not see anything unusual.
Safyree and Layah were sleeping and Donovan was sleeping in his crib. Michael woke up and I gave him a cup of water. When I left everything was perfect,” said Silva.
Silva has fond memories of David and his children, including Safyre who he called “princess.”
“That was Safyre. She was crowns, I'm talking she’d put the crown, dress, whole nine yards and come around like 'I'm my daddy's princess,'” recalled Silva. “Dave Terry was a good father. Always would fight and protect his kids. God bless, but at least Dave is with his kids. He adopted Donovan and he loved those kids to death. It’s horrible.”
(Photo: Top: Safyre, Michael. Bottom: Donovan, Layah)