The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)
Parents: Redding boy killed in house fire known for ‘tireless sense of adventure’
REDDING — A local middle school student who died Wednesday after suffering injuries in an overnight house fire is remembered as an avid outdoorsman and compassionate animal lover.
Brien Karlson, who would have turned 12 in April, was inside his Diamond Hill Road home with the rest of his family Tuesday night when the fire broke out, according to school officials.
A GoFundMe organized for the family said the fire broke out while the Karlson family slept. Brien, his parents and his 9-year-old sister were rescued from the home and taken to the hospital.
While some of the family members managed to escape without injury, Brien suffered life-threatening injuries and died Wednesday at the hospital.
“Unfortunately, Brien suffered life threatening injuries, and after a courageous fight, he didn’t make it,” the crowd funding page said. “Brien was a curious and gentle soul whose love for people and animals was apparent to anyone who spent any amount of time with or around him.”
The fundraising page said his parents, Tara and Scott Karlson, “are now experiencing every parent’s worst nightmare.”
“So many wonderful family and friends have reached out to see what they can do, and we would love to streamline efforts to help them to begin to rebuild the essentials,” the page said. “We know they are truly grateful to all of those reaching out to support them.”
The Redding fire marshal is investigating the cause of the blaze. The GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $125,000, said the Karlson family’s dogs also died in the fire.
Born on April 11, 2011, Brien was a sixth-grader at John Read Middle School and a member of Redding’s Boy Scout Troop 15. Photos shared with Hearst Connecticut Media by Jacob Cedusky, committee chair of the troop, showed Brien ziplining, carving a pumpkin, enjoying time with friends and wearing his Boy Scout uniform.
In a statement released by his parents, they asked for donations to the troop and Cub Scout Pack 118 in lieu of flowers in their son’s memory.
The parents lauded Brien for his “quick wit, easy laugh and tireless sense of adventure” — qualities that brought “immeasurable joy and laughter to his parents, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and teammates.”
Brien had already developed an “expert knowledge of nature,” his parents said. He could often be found hunting for frogs in the stream behind his home, trying to catch fish in his minnow trap and pacing the tidal flats of the Massachusetts island of Nantucket in search of sea creatures, his parents said.
When Brien was bitten on his bare foot by a snake, he didn’t become angry, his parents said. Instead, he felt bad for waking the sleeping reptile, according to his parents.