Emotions ran high Friday night, as family, friends, firefighters, classmates, and neighbors stood just steps away from where a fatal house fire took the lives of two brothers on Sunday.
“No matter what, he was always there for everybody,” classmate Enasia Shepard recalled.
On February 24, Elijah Little’s family and friends say he was there for one of the people he loved the most, his 29-year-old autistic brother, Shaheen Davis.
“I really believe that he died a hero,” said Little’s friend, Chris Harper.
As flames overtook the home the brothers shared with their mother and sister, loved ones say Elijah tried to help his brother escape. The pair was ultimately overcome by smoke. The fire was so intense that even firefighters were pushed back and unable to make a rescue.
“To find out that it was actually true just broke everything in me,” said Shepard.
Little’s New Britain High School classmates said they miss his laugh, his smile, and most of all, his infectious personality.
“He would give you something. Like the feeling of being happy around him,” said his friend, Chris Harper.
Their older brother calls Shaheen a great soul.
“He was a good man, just always happy, always bouncing around,” said Dewan Davis.
The tragedy’s touched so many members of the community. Elected officials joined the hundreds of mourners at Friday night’s vigil.
“There’s all the prayers in the world that may not be able to help them at the moment, but we’re here and I think that’s what matters the most,” said New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart.
“I just imagine the love that those brothers must have had for each other,” added U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes. “People always talk about young people not having courage or not caring about anything. Clearly, clearly he cared deeply about his brother.”
Elijah’s best friend says the way he died is also the way he lived.
“He was always a hero. He didn’t just die a hero, he was always a hero,” said Little’s best friend, Vashaugn Davis.
“Great brothers, great people, obviously great friends, great souls. If there’s a heaven, I know they’re there,” added Davis.