SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The person killed in a deadly house fire in Rockland County on Saturday has been identified as a security guard and soccer coach at Spring Valley High School.
Venel Eduoard was part of the fabric at Spring Valley High School, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported Sunday.
The community is heartbroken.
“He was so caring. He was always there for these kids, even after they graduated, and it’s just a very sad day,” Spring Valley athletic coordinator and varsity soccer coach Ryan Marcus said.
At around 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, fire tore through Eduoard’s home on Rockland Lane. Police said he was trapped inside and couldn’t escape.
His grieving family members said they are overwhelmed and grateful for the support from students and staff from the high school, where they all gathered Sunday to pay tribute to Eduoard’s life.
“I’ve been crying since yesterday. I couldn’t sleep. We will never see him again. Every holiday he’s with us,” Sabine Jacques said.
Eduoard’s soccer players said he was a tough guy with a soft heart. On Sunday afternoon, they lit candles and walked laps around the field in honor of the JV coach, who was expected take over varsity this year.
Current and former students like Stanley Saintluis said he changed their lives.
“People should remember Venel as a hero,” Saintluis said. “He made me who I am today. When I first came to the United States, Venel bought me my first soccer cleats. He did a lot for me. I will always remember him. He was like a father to me.”
“You could count on him for a stellar character to encourage our young people. And as you could see, by this gathering, from this vigil, that he was very well loved and very well respected. And we will miss him,” East Ramapo Central School District Superintendent Dr. Debra Wortham said.
Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the fire that has devastated this community.
The high school was providing grief counseling.