Fiancé of Caledonia fire victim remembers her as artist with big plans

Emily Putnam
Updated: March 21, 2021 11:55 PM
Created: March 21, 2021 11:46 PM

CALEDONIA, N.Y. (WHEC) — Mikayla Ross and her fiancé Blaze Arthmann Holler had been together for three and a half years. On Saturday night, when flames took over the apartment they shared together in Caledonia, Blaze was at work and Mikayla was at home. 

Blaze says he would routinely text Mikayla whenever he heard sirens, just to make sure she was okay. When he heard sirens Saturday night and texted her per their routine, Mikayla did not respond. 

"She was in there for two hours before they got her out," says Holler. "I hope she was sleeping."

Fire crews were able to eventually pull her out of the building Saturday night, but she later died from her injuries in the hospital. Mikayla was originally from Pennsylvania, where her family still lives. She was a talented artist and graphic designer who was just a few weeks away from her 22nd birthday. You can see some of her art attached to this story. 

"She can't be remembered as a random 21-year-old girl who died in a fire," says Holler. "She was ... she was Mikayla."

The couple was building a life together and had plans to get married in 2023. Mikayla already had details ironed out for the big day.

"She had plans going to 2030 for us, vacations and things," he says. "She even had our wedding guest list for 2023 and our tux sizes for our siblings and cousins."

The couple enjoyed spending time together in the village of Caledonia, where they would go on late-night walks to get coffee or share a banana split at their favorite diner. They loved watching Disney movies together. Mikayla's favorite character was Stitch from Lilo & Stich, and they were planning a trip to Disney World. 

"She instantly touched peoples' lives and it was just better," says Blaze, an opinion shared by his parents, Shawn Holler and Cyndy Arthmann, who were standing by his side. 

A GoFundMe campaign was started for Blaze, who lost everything in the fire. In its first 12 hours, the campaign had reached $4,500 of its $6,000 goal. To donate to the campaign, click here

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