Community mourns 7-year-old girl killed in house fire

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NORWALK — A week after the tragic death of Summer Fawcett, nearly 200 people showed up at the 7-year-old’s favorite spot — the Taylor Farm Dog Park — on Saturday to honor her memory.

“This is a city-wide tragedy,” Mayor Harry Rilling said at Saturday’s event.

“We can’t imagine how painful this is, but the whole town is with the Fawcett family – our prayers, our hearts,” he said. “It’s just a terrible, terrible thing that everyone should have to endure.”

Fawcett died May 14 in a fire that tore up his family’s home on Nelson Avenue just days after his seventh birthday. The girl’s father tried to save her and the firefighters eventually pulled her from the second floor bedroom before she was pronounced dead at Norwalk Hospital. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Along with a host of family friends and relatives, many of Fawcett’s classmates and their families from Cranbury Primary School – where she had just completed Year 1 – attended Saturday’s event.


“Yes, we want to make a difference in a child’s life, but she made a difference in mine,” said Fawcett’s first grade teacher Anna Maria Dimeglio, trying to hold back tears.

She pointed out that Fawcett’s death puts things in perspective for everyone, rendering something like test results irrelevant.

“I will never forget when you came over and gave me a hug on the first day of school,” Dimeglio said, noting that her death came a day after she had her “first and last school trip to the Maritime Aquarium”.

Fawcett was known for her great love of animals, including a fondness and acceptance of rats.

“Summer was a fierce rat advocate,” said her grandmother, Patty Miller Phillips, who spoke on behalf of the family.

“She walked to the beat of her own drummer,” she said. “She didn’t mess around. She said it like it was.”

Phillips explained how Fawcett’s older brother Blair III, 9, was his best friend, while his parents – Lindsay and Blair – served as a central comfort zone.

“She was an exceptional entertainer, like her father,” Phillips said of her granddaughter, whom she described as having “an infectious laugh, a bright smile and a down-to-earth personality.”

“We’re all going to be dreaming of you, Little Summer,” she said. “Sweet dreams, Little Angel.”

Family members exchanged many tearful and moving hugs with those who came to honor the child.

“Summer is not just an angel to the immediate family, now she is Norwalk’s angel,” said the mayor’s wife, Lucia Rilling. “She is our angel as a community and we will always view her that way.”

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