Father Killed While Searching for Kids in Fire

Hamden Fatal Fire

A father of three died in a house fire in Hamden while searching for family members who had escaped by jumping from the second floor into the snow below.

A mother and one child escaped through a side door at 199 Grandview Avenue Thursday morning. Two others children jumped from a second-story window. The snow pack below broke their fall, according to fire officials.

But neighbors say John Oberempt, 50, didn't realize his family was out safely, and got trapped on the second floor of the home trying to save them.

"I know dad was the kind of guy that would have done anything to make sure they were safe, and that's what happened in this case," said Harry Terasuk, who lived next door. "This man worked day and night and this woman gave her life and soul to the children. To see this is more than I can possibly imagine."

Oberempt was also being mourned by his co-workers at Air Specialties in West Haven. The company released a statement Thursday afternoon. "We are devastated by what has happened. John was a beloved employee for the last 30 years. We're just trying to get through the day." 

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