TOMS RIVER – The death of a 23-year-old man has shocked and saddened communities Ocean County as well as Niagara Falls, New York. Patrick Romano died over the weekend in a house fire according to multiple reports.
Romano was discovered alone in a single-family home, according to NBC affiliate WIVB 4 in Buffalo. The Niagara Falls Fire Department said firefighters were able to get to him after extinguishing flames that engulfed the house.
Investigators continued to probe the cause of the blaze which is undetermined as of press time. Niagara University Campus Ministry included Romano as part of the Palm Sunday Liturgy on Sunday with moments of prayer.
The 2016 Toms River High School East graduate was a member of the Niagara University Club Hockey team where he played defenseman. The former Toms River resident is being mourned and remembered for the way he lived his life and the impact he had on those around him.
In a Townsquare Media News/Shore Sports Network report, one of his closest friends, Mike Gibson described him as “the most fun, loving, genuine person who would welcome anyone into his life and he would be your best friend if you knew him for five minutes or five years.”
Gibson said Pat was “one of those kids that would light up any room that he walked into and always put a smile on everyone’s face. Most importantly, this kid loved his mother like no other and was absolute best friends with her.”
Romano played hockey with Gibson and many of his other lifelong friends. “He was truly a ‘beauty’ as he would say and will be missed by so many people,” Gibson added in the report.
The Toms River Regional School District issued a statement on Romano’s death saying, “Toms River Regional Schools is extremely saddened to learn of the untimely passing of Patrick Romano, who graduated High School East in 2016. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends.”