LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A close family friend is using a fundraiser to extend a helping hand to the Latham teenager who lost his family in a possible murder-suicide.
A home on Schalren Drive in Lathan was heavily destroyed by fire Tuesday evening. Inside, first responders found the remains of three bodies.
Sources close to the investigation confirmed the bodies belonged to Colonie Patrol Officer Israel Roman, his wife, and their 10-year-old son. Police are investigating the fire as a possible murder suicide.
Their 15-year-old son, Noah, was the only survivor. He was at a basketball game at Shaker High School at the time of the fire.
“When I put all the pieces together, my knees buckled,” close family friend Tim Stowell said.
Stowell knew he recognized the street name of the fatal fire, but it wasn’t until he connected the scene to a picture, that he realized he knew the victims.
Stowell said Roman was best friends with his son Ben.
“Noah just was really there for Ben, and he’s just a great friend to have in your corner,” he said.
Ben died from osteosarcoma in 2009. Stowell said the Roman family was by his side to show their support.
“When Ben passed away in 2009, Noah spoke at this funeral,” Stowell said. “It was beautiful. His words were genuine, and their friendship is eternal.”
Now Stowell is the one reaching out.
When Ben passed, he started the Green Drakkoman Foundation to raise money for childhood cancer research. The foundation has a fundraiser on Sunday, but now it is being dedicated to Noah.
“Ben would want us to do this so any of the money we raise, all the net proceeds are going to go to Noah and his extended family,” Stowell said. “To help them with whatever they need in the future, and we want Noah to know that we as a community stand behind him.”
The fundraiser will take place on February 14 at Spare Time in Latham. It starts at 2 p.m., and all proceeds will go to Noah and his extended family.