Family mourns loss of 24-year-old killed in Fridley house fire

A family is grieving the loss of a loved one after a deadly house fire in Fridley Tuesday night.

The home caught fire about 8 p.m., but only three of the four people inside were able to escape. 

Asleep on the top floor, Rachel Dolan says her 24-year-old brother DJ Wasserman never had a chance to escape. With only one way into the attic room, Wasserman was trapped in the home.

“I got a phone call from my mom and she just told me, DJ’s dead,” said Dolan. “And I don’t know. I have these moments where I’m okay and then I have these moments where I feel I’m totally numb.”

Dolan says oil on the stove ignited and almost instantly, everything was on fire. Her father, her sister and her sister’s boyfriend along with three dogs were able to get out safely. 

“My sister and her boyfriend, their dog, they had gotten [the dog] out, [the dog] ran back in the house, my sister’s boyfriend tried to follow [the dog] back in to get him and my brother and he just couldn’t…there was no way,” said Dolan. “They’re really having a hard time with it because they have the whole survivor’s guilt. They feel like it’s their fault, so that’s pretty hard seeing them struggle with that.”

The home, which was often the home base for their large family gatherings, is now nothing but charred memories and a reminder of the family’s tragic loss.

“How caring [DJ] was, he would do anything for anybody that needed something just, he had such a good heart,” said Dolan.

For more fundraising information for DJ Wasserman's memorial, click here.

One dog and three guinea pigs also died in the fire.