ORRINGTON, Maine — Friends and family will gather Saturday to remember the father and his three children who were killed last weekend in an Orrington fire, and community members will hold a spaghetti supper to help the family and the mother, who survived the fire.
Ryan, Leslie and Benjamin Johnson IV died with their father, Benjamin Johnson III, after cardboard boxes stored too close to the wood stove the family used to heat the home caught fire, according to investigators. A container of lighter fluid also was found near the stove and may have helped spread the fire.
Mother and wife Christine Johnson survived the blaze, escaping out a second-story window and onto the roof of a breezeway connecting the house to the garage. After his wife was outside, Ben Johnson III went back in for the children, according to his father, Ben Johnson II.
The Hollywood Casino in Bangor has joined the town of Orrington, East Orrington Congregational Church, Center Drive School and Sam’s Club to sponsor a spaghetti supper to help the Johnson family.
The supper will be from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Center Drive School, 17 School St., Orrington. Admission is by donation. with attendees asked to give whatever they can to support the family, according to an announcement for the event.
Any donations that people want to do give directly to Christine Johnson may be made at any People’s United Bank branch, under the Johnson Family Fundraiser account.
The town also has been collecting clothing donations for Christine, according to Town Manager Paul White.
Friends of the family are invited to call from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Brookings-Smith funeral home, 133 Center St. in Bangor. Relatives and friends are invited to gather from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the Lancaster Room of Hollywood Casino for refreshment and conversation, according to the obituaries.
The funerals will be at 2 p.m. Sunday. Interment ceremonies will be private.
Hollywood Casino, where Ben Johnson III worked dealing cards, has made a personal donation to Christine Johnson.
Orrington Fire and Rescue is offering a family fire safety class 6:15-7:30 p.m. on Nov. 20 in the cafeteria at Center Drive School, Shellie Tourtillotte, the fire department’s public educator, said in an announcement about the event.