Skip to Content

Former Oneonta firefighter lost his life rescuing family from a fire

ONEONTA (WBNG) — Family members say John Heller saved his fiance and four young boys from his burning apartment early Saturday morning.

Relatives say the 38-year-old got his fiance and his nephews out of his third-floor apartment, but didn’t make it out himself.

Heller is being named a hero for paying the ultimate price for those he loved.

The fire broke out at 5 Walling Avenue in Oneonta. Neighbors say they can’t believe something like this happened.

“We here’s what..I was asleep and my daughter come down and said you guys got to get up,” said Richard Marlow of Oneonta. “There’s a fire next door and we got to be ready to get out of the house if we have to.”

Oneonta fire officials say the family was taken to A. O. Fox Hospital in Oneonta. One of the boys suffered burns on his arm.

The community has come together, raising $300 dollars through a GoFundMe Page. The original goal was to raise $500.

According to the page, family and friends are heartbroken about the loss of their uncle .

They came up with the idea to give the children the gift of play. So some of the money raised will got toward getting the boys a membership to Noah’s World in Oneonta.

The GoFundMe page says the recreation center will give a large discount for a one year pass for all 4 boys.

Fire officials say they’re not releasing where the fire started or how because the investigation is ongoing.

The New York State office of Fire Prevention and Control is leading the investigation. 12 News reached out for a comment and have yet to hear back.

Author Profile Photo


Skip to content