Community mourns Allendale teen killed in weekend house fire
The Allendale community is mourning the loss of a 17-year-old girl who died in a house fire over the weekend.
Authorities say that Riley Boyle was not able to escape her home during the fire. Police say that it is believed that the fire started in the back of the family’s Bonnie Way home on an outdoor patio and then spread to the main structure.
Boyle was a junior at Northern Highlands Regional High School. Friends and family have been leaving tributes of flowers and gifts in the front yard of the home to memorialize the teen.
Police say the fire started around 5 p.m. Saturday. When firefighters arrived, the home was already engulfed in flames. Officials say that three people were inside – Boyle, her sister and the sister’s friend.
“When they entered, they were greeted by the sister,” says Allendale Police Chief Michael Dillon. “The sister had advised that her sibling was still inside the house.”
Dillon says firefighters searched until they found Boyle in an upstairs bathroom.
“Unfortunately, we are under the belief that the young woman who passed did not hear the smoke alarms. But they were ringing, they were activated,” Dillon says.
Boyle was taken to Valley Hospital but died from her injuries.
Police returned to the home on Monday to help family members collect belongings that weren’t destroyed by the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but the Bergen County prosecutor says it “appears to be accidental in nature.”
Northern Highlands Regional High School had a delayed opening on Monday because of Boyle’s death.
Superintendent Scot Beckerman said in a statement, “This loss has devastated our communities. She was a very active member at Northern Highlands and a straight 4.0 student.”
It is believed that the house will be a total loss due to the damage.
Boyle's friends have started an online petition to get the Northern Highlands Regional High track renamed in her honor.