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Park Bench Dedicated in Memory of Hellertown Sisters Who Died in Fire

Memorial Bench Hellertown

A memorial park bench dedicated to two sisters who lost their lives in a Hellertown house fire more than a year ago will hopefully provide peace and comfort to all who knew them.

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Bench Memorial Dedication Fire

Above, Hellertown Mayor David Heintzelman speaks during a dedication ceremony for a bench in memory of Brianna Baer and Abigail Kaufman; two sisters who died in a house fire on April 1, 2022.

A memorial park bench dedicated to two sisters who lost their lives in a Hellertown house fire more than a year ago will hopefully provide peace and comfort to all who knew them.

That was the message shared by speakers at a dedication ceremony held in the borough’s Dimmick Park Tuesday afternoon.

Abigail Kaufman and Brianna Baer died when their home on Linden Avenue caught fire on April 1, 2022. Officials say a hoverboard that is now recalled was the fire’s point of origin.

Both girls were students at local schools and their loss has been a trauma not only for their family and friends, but also for the community, speakers at the ceremony said.

“Today is a very hard day,” said Hellertown Mayor David Heintzelman. “We miss them. We love them.”

“I hope and pray that we can continue the healing process that has been so hard for everyone,” he added.

Jessica O’Donnell-Gower of the Lehigh Valley Chamber speaks at the dedication chamber. The Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber, which is part of the GLVCC, coordinated the fundraising effort that paid for the memorial bench.

Money for the memorial was raised by the Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber of Commerce, which partnered with local businesses for a campaign called “Funds for the Family.”

“We are a chamber of commerce, but also a chamber of community,” said Lehigh Valley Chamber Executive Vice President Jessica O’Donnell-Gower.

Planted on either side of the bench–which is at the north end of the park, near Durham Street–are two cherry trees donated to enhance the area by local developer Lou Pektor.

Pektor said the girls’ parents selected the trees from a nursery he owns last year, and noted that they were chosen because they will bloom around the anniversary of their death.

The dedication ceremony concluded with a moment of silence.

Memorial Bench Hellertown

The memorial bench is located across the street from the Hellertown Pool at the north end of Dimmick Park in Hellertown.

The bench bears a small plaque that says it was dedicated “in loving memory of Brianna Baer & Abigail Kaufman on behalf of the Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber.”

Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure spoke at the dedication ceremony. On behalf of the county, he told members of the Kaufman and Baer families, “we are so very sorry for your loss.”

Lower Saucon Township councilwoman Priscilla deLeon said she prays the new bench will help the girls’ family, friends and community find peace. Grief “doesn’t end,” she noted. “You try to get through each day.”

Lou Pektor, the owner of a nursery that provided the cherry trees planted at either end of the memorial bench, said the girls’ parents selected the trees because they will bloom each year around April 1.

Pictured above, attendees at the memorial park bench dedication ceremony listen to a speaker. The bench is located next to the park road entrance on Durham Street, opposite the Hellertown Pool.


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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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