By Todd Maisel
The message “Tiggy, We Love U,” arranged in tealights, glowed from the steps of the charred home of the Jones family in Springfield Gardens on Saturday.
Neighbors, loved ones and other supporters visited the home to remember 8-year-old Tighani Jones who was unable to escape the early morning flames and died in the tragic blaze that consumed the Jones’ home.
Nearly 100 people, including Tighani’s teachers, held white roses and candles as they released blue and white balloons to honor the boy who “lit up the lives of so many,” according to his father, Aidan Jones Sr.
“He touched a lot of people — he was our light and soul, do you feel me?” Aidan Jones Sr. said while his surrounded him.
Aidan Jr., who shared a second-floor bedroom with Tighani, wore a sweatshirt featuring a picture of his little brother as he and his other siblings spelled out their message of love. He placed a soccer ball signed by friends and family on the steps. Tighani loved to play soccer, Aidan said.
Tighani died when fast-moving flames swept through 140-2 160th Street at 2:30 a.m. on the morning of March 3. The blaze prompted some family members to jump from their second-floor windows. One boy landed on the roof of a car.
“It was so confusing, I was screaming in the driveway for him to come out, but he didn’t,” Aidan said. “My mother tried going back in twice, but the police stopped her. The firemen showed up and tried to go in for him, but it was too late. I don’t know why he didn’t get out. He was my younger brother and I loved him and miss him.”
Several family members, including Tighani’s mother, suffered burns and remain in the hospital.
The FDNY said the fire likely erupted from a single candle. The house had no working smoke detectors.
“People have to know what happened and how important it is to have smoke detectors and to be careful with candles,” an NYPD community affairs officer told the Eagle. “They also have to grieve — the neighborhood needed this.”
Savannah Taormina, one of Tighani’s teachers at the Success Academy of Springfield Gardens, said he was “an angel in our school, always wanting to learn.”
“He was a very special child and the children miss him,” she continued, adding that one child still saved a seat for him in the lunchroom every day.