The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Northumberland County

April 9, 2014

'They are gone . . .'

300 attend service for brothers who died in Rush Township fire

RIVERSIDE — A church pastor brought greetings of love and comfort Tuesday to the more than 300 people gathered to pay respects to three young brothers killed in a house fire Friday.

Killed in the Rush Township fire were Arthur Willis Dissinger, 2; Gavin Arthur Dissinger, 7; and Daniel Gage Dissinger, 13.

Kristyn Dissinger, 14, and Ryan Dissinger, 10, were able to escape and run to neighbors for help. Angel, 4, was staying with friends. Their mother, Christine Dissinger, was working at the time the fire broke out at about 1:20 a.m.

“We expend our heartfelt condolences to Christine, Kristyn, Ryan and Angel and to each one who has been touched by this tragedy,” Pastor Kevin Newswanger, of the Danville Mennonite Church, said during the funeral Tuesday afternoon.

Newswanger mentioned others touched by the deaths, including emergency responders, teachers, classmates, Northumberland County Coroner James F. Kelley and the church congregation.

“We face this together by the grace of God,” Newswanger said. “God will comfort us in all our tribulation. None of us has chosen to come together this way. We ask why, but we can’t answer the question.”

 Brother Nathan Ehst said, “We are here because of God’s appointment. Daniel, Gavin and Arthur are not here with us. We miss them. They are gone. It does us good to comfort each other in times like this.”

In times like this, we have tears as a way of expressing emotion, he said.

“Our sympathy goes to the family and those who relate very closely. We thank each one who came to this place,” he said.

Sun shone through the open windows of the crowded church. Four white ceiling fans were running.

In the back sat a silver casket. Above it were the words “Safe in the Arms of Jesus.” Large pictures of Daniel and Gavin hung on the wall with a smaller photo of Arthur in the center. A football lay on top of the casket.

Because of the attendance, church members set up numerous folding chairs.

Kelley was among those attending the service, which included Danville Area School District principals and others from the district. Daniel was a sixth-grader at Danville Middle School, and Gavin attended first grade at Danville Primary School.

Northumberland County Commissioner Vinnie Clausi said he was representing Coal Township and Shamokin, which plan to raise money to help the family.

“I am here for the children. It’s a sad day in Northumberland County. I hope people pray for the family,” he said.

A visitation was held before the service with a long line of mourners waiting to get in.

The parking lot of the meeting house, along Route 54 in Rush Township, was full with numerous vehicles parked along Route 54. Orange cones alerted motorists to slow down in the area. Fire police were on duty there.

The children will be buried later at Fort Indiantown Gap where their father, Arthur, who died in 2010, is buried.

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