A father and his three children lost their lives in an early morning fire in Orrington and the mother of the family is in the hospital, being treated for smoke inhalation. The young family had just bought the Dow Road house 6 months ago. This community is shocked and saddened over the loss.

Killed in the fire were 30-year-old Benjamin Johnson III,9-year-old Ben, 4-year-old Ryan, and 8-year-old daughter Leslie. Christine Johnson, 31 was found by firefighters outside the home. Firefighters say the home was engulfed in flames when they arrived just after 2:30 Saturday morning and, at one point, they had to evacuate the building when conditions became unsafe. The state fire marshall's office worked on Saturday to try and determine the cause of the fire.

This tragedy has rocked my town. Ben was known by many, as an expert bowler, as an employee of Walmart, and recently as a dealer at Hollywood Casino. I got to know Ben and his Dad from my former job at an Orrington convenience store. Always smiling and laughing, always friendly, and very dedicated to family, I came to look forward to their visits. Our thoughts and prayers go to Christine and Ben's families and friends, and to the children of Orrington who have lost classmates.