Ride set to raise money for girl who survived deadly fire
5-year-old hurt in fire that killed father, siblings
SCHENECTADY A large group of motorcyclists — possibly in the hundreds — will be taking to the road Sunday to raise money for a little girl burned badly in a May fire authorities say was intentionally set.
The girl, 5-year-old Sa’fyre Terry, remains at Westchester Medical Center downstate recovering from extensive injuries suffered in the May 2 Hulett Street blaze that took the lives of her three siblings and her father.
As she recovers, friends of the family, and many people who never knew them, will take part in the motorcycle ride to raise money for her care and for her future.
Organizing the event is longtime family friend Roger Steele of Broadalbin. Steele met the father, David Terry, a dozen years ago when Terry worked at a convenience store. They quickly struck up a friendship.
From the response he’s been getting as word of the event has spread through motorcycle clubs and on Facebook, Steele said the number of participants could be much bigger than he originally anticipated.
“The response has been huge,” Steele said this week as he prepared for the event. “When it first started, I thought maybe we would get 20 to 25 bikes.”
It is to begin in Vail Mills at the Fulton County Visitor’s Center at the corner of routes 29 and 30. Registration will start at 8.
The ride is scheduled to start at around 10 a.m., wind its way north and east through the Adirondacks and Lake George, then conclude at a park in Rotterdam Junction for a get-together there.
Funds will be raised through a $15 fee for motorcycles and an additional $5 for a passenger. The money will go into a fund set up for Sa’fyre.
The ride, Steele said, was a way he thought could help the family and Sa’fyre.
“He was like family to me,” Steele said of Sa’fyre’s father.
Terry, 32, was killed in the fire at 438 Hulett St., along with his children Layah Terry, 3, Michael Terry, 2, and Donavan Duell, 11 months.
The only child to survive was Sa’fyre, a girl described as her father’s princess.
Robert A. Butler, 27, of Saratoga Springs, was charged with setting the fire. He faces one count of arson causing death. If convicted under federal law, he faces the possibility of the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Prosecutors have not said whether they intend to seek a death sentence.
Butler is accused of setting fire to the stairwell leading to the second-floor apartment as part of an ongoing argument with David Terry. Terry had thrown Butler out of the house for hitting the mother of the children, Jennica Duell.
Steele met the older children on several occasions, recalling how Terry would call Sa’fyre his little princess. All the children, he said, brought joy.
“Any time you’d see any of the kids, it would just bring a smile to your face,” Steele said. “You could be having the worst day in the world, go to Dave’s house and it would put a smile on your face. You’d feel better about the day.”
Steele said the event has received donations of materials from multiple local businesses. Other donations have also come in. He said his own 9-year-old son donated $3.
The money raised will go to the Terry Family Fund to help cover expenses incurred as a result of the fire, including travel to see Sa’fyre. Anyone unable to attend the ride but would like to donate can do so at any local SEFCU branch.
For information on the ride, contact Steele at 729-0208.