West York Police identify boy, 8, who died after Saturday fire

Brandon Addeo
York Dispatch
A memorial stands at 1567 Poplar Terrace in West York, Monday, July 5, 2021. A fire at the home on Saturday claimed the life of Elijah Hawkins, 8. Bill Kalina photo

Donors have raised more than $55,000 for a West York family who lost a child in a house fire over the weekend. 

Elijah Hawkins, 8, died at a Maryland hospital after his home in the 1500 block of West Poplar Terrace caught fire about 11 p.m. Saturday, according to West York Borough Police Chief Matt Millsaps. 

Elijah's brother, Evan, 6, was injured in the blaze and remains hospitalized in serious but stable condition. Two adults, identified Jacob and Brittany Hawkins, the boys' parents, were treated for minor burns, Millsaps said. 

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Firefighters from multiple area departments responded to the fire at the duplex-style residence, and they had the blaze contained after about an hour, Millsaps said. Crews remained at the scene until about 4 a.m. 

One child died and another was being treated for burns after a house fire in the 1500 block of West Poplar Terrace in West York on Saturday, July 3, 2021. Photo by West York Mayor Bruce Vick

Investigators believe the blaze was accidental and caused by improperly discarded fireworks, police say. 

"Evidence was discovered of spent fireworks in the immediate area of the origin of the fire, stored in a container" near the outside of the building, Millsaps said. 

Authorities haven't identified who was responsible for the discarded firework that sparked the fire; Millsaps said investigators need to do more follow-up to determine that.

The fire caused about $300,000 worth of damage to the building. Two pets that were in the home were rescued safely.  

Fundraisers: Several groups are raising money for the Hawkins family. 

A GoFundMe page was created Sunday with a $50,000 goal. On Monday, more than 900 donors met that target — donating more than $58,800 by late afternoon — and the campaign set a new goal of $75,000. 

"I know the Hawkins family through bowling and my internship," page organizer Kirsten Sneddon wrote. "They just lost everything ... They need all the help they can get."

Sneddon also asked for donations of clothes and other household supplies. 

A group of firefighters also hopes to raise funds for the family. 

A home at 1567 Poplar Terrace in West York, Monday, July 5, 2021, was damaged by a fire on Saturday which claimed the life of Elijah Hawkins, 8. Bill Kalina photo

The West York Fire Department Reliance Co. is donating all proceeds from an upcoming bingo night to the Hawkins family, the department posted on Facebook. The bingo night is at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the fire department, 1341 W. Market St.  

Fireworks law: Using fireworks is illegal in most areas of York City and West York under a state law passed in 2017. 

The legislation allows the purchase and use of certain types of fireworks, but it bans the use of fireworks within 150 feet of any occupied building. 

In recent years, York County authorities have routinely received hundreds of fireworks-related complaints between July 1 and the July 4 holiday. In 2020, the county received 653 complaints; in 2019, 237; and in 2018, 331.