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Wilmington fire victim remembered

June 6, 2019
By ELIZABETH IZZO - Staff Writer (eizzo@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Lake Placid News

WILMINGTON - A local woman who died in a house fire Saturday, June 1 is being remembered as a loving aunt who never failed to be there for the people she cared for.

Brittany A. Talley-Barney, 37, who often used just Barney as her last name, was pronounced dead at 11:05 a.m. following a fire in her apartment in a multi-family home at 1158 Springfield Road. Her memory lingers with the family and friends who remain.

Her niece Cadence Lewis recalls times when she and Barney's sister Baeleigh Bickford would visit Barney at her home in Rhode Island.

Article Photos

Brittany Barney, left, and friend Meghan Whitney are pictured at age 15 at a hockey tournament.
(Photo provided by Meghan Whitney)

"The last time we went to Rhode Island, she took us to the Boston aquarium, she took us to the Rhode Island zoo, the took us to Salem," Lewis said. "She wanted to make sure that we enjoyed a childhood we deserved."

Barney, a Tri-Lakes native, returned to her hometown of Lake Placid seven years ago in the wake of a loss in her family.

Lewis's mother and Barney's sister Bethany Talley had died, and Barney dropped everything and moved back to the area to take care of her and her two brothers, who are 11 and 15 years old.

"She moved here to become a second mom to us," Lewis said. "She felt like, even though we weren't her kids, we were her kids. She did everything she could to make sure we had what we needed.

"She would constantly talk about us," she said. "It gave her life."

Barney was an awesome aunt, Lewis said. She was funny and outgoing.

"She loved serving people. She loved being a happy place for people."

Friends and family shared stories of Barney on social media, painting a picture of a beautiful, fun-loving woman who lived life to the fullest.

Meghan Whitney, who grew up with Barney and played hockey with her on the Lake Placid Firecrackers, said Barney had "the biggest heart and an amazing soul."

"I will never forget as a teenager sneaking into her house just to be in each other's company," she said.

It breaks her heart that she'll never hear Barney laugh again.

"She had this remarkable, unique laugh that can and will not ever be forgotten," she said. "Sometimes she would get going and it just came from the belly. Her laugh was contagious.

"She had this ability to make you laugh no matter the mood you were in. She was silly and funny and always knew the right thing to say to you."

Barney and her boyfriend Alex - who was rescued from the fire by Darin Forbes, who works at a nearby business - ran ADK Pizza & Pasta together right near their home.

"She operated half of ADK Pizza. They took on the role together, of opening the business and making it Adirondack themed," Lewis said. "She loved that little place. That was her enjoyment in life."

A fundraiser to help the Barney family was held at the restaurant Sunday evening. Altogether, the community raised $2,875.

Another fundraiser, this one put on by Whitney and Michelle Fox, another former hockey teammate, had raised more than $3,953 for the Barney family by Monday afternoon.

With all the support from the community, the family has enough money for funeral arrangements, and will be donating the excess to an animal wildlife refuge in honor of Barney, who was a passionate animal lover.

Lewis said that the family is overwhelmed by all the support.

"It really shows how much one person can impact such a small community," she said. "It's really amazing to see all those people who want to help our family.

"For the past couple of years, everybody has come together to show their condolences for everyone we've lost."

Barney's dog Milton, a roughly 7-year-old tan chihuahua, is still missing. Anyone who may have seen the dog is encouraged to get in touch with her family.

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Fundraiser ongoing for Goff family

Fundraisers are ongoing for a family that was displaced by the fire at 1158 Springfield Road and lost many of their belongings.

The fundraiser for Shawntel Goff, Cory Lawrence and their three daughters, ages 2, 6 and 8, can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/donate/352548755417943/634004883751651.

Donations of new toys, coloring books, stuffed animals, clothing, cash and other gifts are being accepted at the Lake Placid Elementary School office through June 14. For more information, contact Michele Kulina at 518-523-3640 ext. 4501.

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Police, fire officials continue to investigate

State and county fire investigators and State Police continue to search for details about the fire.

State Police responded to the fire at 9:13 a.m. Saturday. Essex County Coroner Frank Whitelaw arrived at 11 a.m. Whitelaw remained on scene until 8:30 p.m. as first responders obtained a search warrant. Barney's body was sent to the Albany Medical Center, where an autopsy was performed Monday.

The autopsy determined her cause of death to be asphyxia due to smoke inhalation. Her cause of death was ruled accidental, according to Whitelaw.

Essex County Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish said the fire started in the first-floor bedroom of the home, but the cause has not yet been determined.

 
 

 

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