Connecticut Boy, 11, Dies After Overnight Fire Ripped Through His Family's Home on Valentine's Day

Brien Karlson was a sixth-grade student at John Read Middle School in Redding, according to local officials and leaders

Brien Karlson - Boy, 11, Dies from Injuries After House Fire in the Middle of the Night
Brien Karlson. Photo: GoFundMe

An 11-year-old boy has died in Connecticut following a fire at his family's home on Valentine's Day.

Officials said Brien Karlson, a sixth-grade student at John Read Middle School in Redding, was seriously injured Tuesday night when his home on Diamond Hill Road went up in flames, according to CT Insider and NBC affiliate WVIT. The fire broke out around 11:30 p.m., according to fire officials.

The student was transported to a local hospital, but succumbed to his injuries Wednesday afternoon, Superintendent Dr. Jason McKinnon said in a letter to the community that was obtained by PEOPLE.

"It is with tremendous sadness that we share news that Brien died this afternoon after a courageous fight," wrote McKinnon, who heads the Easton, Redding and Region 9 School Districts.

An investigation into the fire is ongoing, according to WVIT.

Brien was a member of the Boy Scouts and was remembered by his troop for having a "tireless sense of adventure and fun."

"His loss has left an immense hole in our hearts," read a social media post shared to the troop's Facebook page on Friday.

"He loved being a scout and his energy and determination endeared him to all of us in the short year he was with the troop," the statement read. "His strength, kindness, and spirit will be greatly missed," the statement read.

Brien's parents and 9-year-old sister Kelly were also transported to local hospitals after the fire tore through the family's home "while they slept," according to the social media post.

The status of their injuries are currently unclear.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

In a statement, the family said Brien "brought immeasurable joy and laughter" to his friends and family "with his quick wit, easy laugh and tireless sense of adventure," according to CT Insider.

They described their son, who would have celebrated his 12th birthday next month, as a "young, but avid, outdoorsman," per the report.

Counseling was made available at Redding Elementary School and John Read Middle School following Brien's death, McKinnon said in the letter obtained by PEOPLE. Additionally, a crisis team from Western Connecticut State University will assist at the schools through next week.

"We, of course, want to support Brien's family in any way we can in their loss," McKinnon said.

A GoFundMe campaign for the Karlson family has raised more than $160,000 as of Friday.

"Tara and Scott are now experiencing every parent's worst nightmare, and Kelly lost a best friend," wrote organizers Jessica Jacob and Elissa Williams.

Related Articles