NORTH HAMPTON — Emerson Quinonez was always a happy kid.
“That child was hands down the happiest little boy. Even when he was sad he was happy,” said family friend Danielle Quinn, who created a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs and other expenses after the 1-year-old boy died last weekend in a tragic fire that also killed his father, Benjamin Fauteux, 23, of Hillsborough.
The online fundraiser titled “Love and Help for the Family of Sweet Emerson” had raised nearly $12,000 by Thursday night with a goal of reaching $15,000.
The deadly fire broke out on Oct. 11 at 90 Lovering Road. Quinn said Emerson lived at the apartment with his mother, Marisa Quinonez, who is from Hillsborough but had moved to North Hampton several months ago and was not home when the fire began.
Quinn said Fauteux was staying with Emerson at the time of the blaze.
The state Medical Examiner’s Officer ruled their cause of deaths to be accidental due to smoke inhalation.
The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation by the state Fire Marshal’s Office.
Emerson’s mother and grandmother, Erika Folliard, issued a statement on behalf of the family.
“Our family would like to thank the incredible community for their outpouring of love and support during the worst time of our lives. Emerson was such a wonderful boy and he is so deeply missed. We are so grateful to the town of Hillsboro and the community at large who have been so gracious with all that they have donated. The support we have received is truly a blessing in this difficult time,” the statement said.
Quinn, a Hillsboro resident, described Emerson as a “water baby” who once swam with sharks with his mother, put his toes in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and had kayaked since he was two months old.
“The beach and ocean were his favorite places to be,” she said.