Man who died in Newark fire remembered as hero

Local News

NEWARK, Ohio (WCMH)- It was the worst Mother’s Day imaginable when a mother lost her house and her son after the man went in to save the family dog.

Carl Aeby Jr, 24, rescued his family of seven before going back to get the family dog – and lost his life. Neither made it out alive.

Only months earlier Carl Aeby Jr- also known as CJ- welcomed his third baby. Now the family are struggling with his death.

His mother is haunted by the sounds she heard coming from her home as it burned to the ground with her son inside.

“All I could hear was him moaning inside that house, and I heard my dog yelping,” said Kathryn Aeby as she clung tightly to her son’s ashes for comfort.

It was the last time she’d hear them alive.

“I’m very hurt,” said Kathryn. “I’m lost. I’m numb.”

And she’s confused – how could something so awful happen on Mother’s Day? Kathryn knows she’ll never get an answer.

“What a Mother’s Day present for me. To lose my house and my son.”

She says it happened Sunday morning between 4 and 5 on Brushey Fork Road, Newark.

“It started in me and my husband’s bedroom in the closet. It came down from the attic,” Kathryn said. “My husband was yelling. He was the only one in the bedroom.”

And that’s when she says the fire spread quickly. Her son Carl Aeby, known as CJ, jumped up and got everyone out the burning house safely.

Then he noticed someone was missing – the 13-year-old family dog who was deaf and blind.

“We kept telling him – ‘Do not go back in there. Don’t.’ But he had to save Domino and neither one of them came back out.”

Kathryn says neighbors tried to help, but it was too late.

CJ’s aunt Valarie Hartsough now must be the rock for Abey as she works to move forward with her son. She sees a bigger message from this.

“I look at CJ’s death as an eye-opener for the rest of the family. Maybe we can all pull together and stay close like we used to be,” said Hartsough.

Kathryn said as she works to pick of the pieces of her life, she will focus on remembering her son to help her get by.

“He was special,” said Kathryn. “Now I’m broke. All I got is this,” said Kathryn

CJ’s funeral service is Froday at The Disciple Factory in Newark at 1 p.m.

There will be a benefit concert on May 30 at the old Marion School in Hanover

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