Family, friends gather to mourn man who died saving children from house fire

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) —  It was a somber night while a few dozen family members and friends gathered Sunday, lighting candles, offering up prayers and memories for Demetrius Johnson, one of the fire victims who died Friday as the Humber Avenue house went up in flames.

Demetrius Johnson, pictured alongside his son, Demetrius Johnson Jr., 3, who is in stable condition in a local hospital.

He’s the 24-year-old being hailed a hero after police say he ran back into his burning house, saving his children.

Friends said a few words about Demetrius before releasing balloons into the sky with messages they wrote for him, many reading ‘We miss you Meech’ and ‘We love you Meech’.

“My son today, if he was here, he would say mom what are you crying for?” said Lorez Collier, Johnson’s mom. “I hear it in my head every day… ‘Mom I’m at peace, I’m free. Mom, I’m free.’”

Collier was present at Mount Hope Community Church Sunday afternoon for a special service being offered up in Demetrius’ honor. The pastor presented the family with a check after the community has been fundraising for Johnson’s funeral services and also to financially support Treasure, Johnson’s 8-year-old daughter who received burn to around 90% of her body in the fire.

Treasure continues to recover at Shriner’s in Cincinnati. Her family members tell us her first of many surgeries is scheduled for Monday. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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