Donation Money Divides Family Of Boy Who Died Saving Relatives From Fire

| by Jonathan Wolfe

Yesterday we told you about 8-year-old Tyler J. Doohan, the heroic young boy who died saving six of his family members from a fire. He was killed after returning to the house to save a seventh family member.

After word of Tyler’s story spread, supporters responded by donating over $57,000 to his surviving family members. Initially, an account was set up on asking for $5,000 in donations. The donations were meant to pay for Tyler’s funeral. But with such a gracious excess of donations pouring in, the Doohan family is left with a new problem: who will be in charge of their newfound money?

“My intention was to pay for the memorial service,” said Theresa Fiorica, the friend of the Doohan family who set up the donation account. “I didn’t think that it was going to go as far and as big as it did.”

The money in the fund is specifically earmarked for Tyler’s funeral expenses. But Tyler’s mother Crystal Vrooman, who is listed as a beneficiary on the donations, says she plans to buy a home for herself and her remaining children.

“My son just got lost in a huge tragedy,” Vrooman told Fox News. “Do you think I want to move into a trailer? I want a nice house [as] I have always been telling the kids, and to give my kids a great school district.”

Other family members aren’t so sure Vrooman should be given full reign over the donations. Due to past substance abuse problems, there exists concern that she may not use the money for its intended purposes.

“My actual fear is that she is not going to use the money properly,” Tyler’s father Jason Doohan said. “My son is the greatest kid I’ve ever known. Use [the money] the right way, on what Tyler would want it to be spent on.”

Tyler’s uncle Joseph Breyette echoes Doohan’s concerns.

“My biggest concern is that the money is going to be mismanaged and the people who went through the tragedy are going to be forgotten,” Breyette said. “I would prefer someone court-appointed, not her, should have control of that money.”

If you ask Vrooman, all of these concerns are in vein. She says she already plans to hire a lawyer who will manage and document how all of the money is spent.

“I will hire an attorney to do this right and have receipts to do everything,” Vrooman said. “I planned on having receipts to show everyone what we used the money for and to send out thank you cards…to say thank you to these people.”

Meanwhile, Penfield Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer says his department is planning to give Tyler an honorary firefighter’s funeral.

“From our standpoint as a fire department, this kid definitely played a role in saving six individuals' lives, and he lost his life trying to save a seventh and an eighth," Ebmeyer said. "It brings it into a different arena…This hero deserves to be recognized for what he did.”

Sources: Fox News, New York Daily News, You Caring