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Teen and mom burned in fire return home

ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Angenette Levy) -- Neighbors of a teenage boy and his mom who were burned in fire came together to welcome them home this Independence Day.

Elena Nikolova and her son Victor Petychev, 18, were burned in a fire at their house on Queensway Ln. last Thanksgiving night. Nikolova was burned and Victor suffered burns on his face and hands. They'd been living elsewhere while their home was repaired but their neighbors kept in close touch with them. Friday night the neighbors held a welcome home party for them.
"It's so good to be among all of these nice people and I have so much support. It's really good," Nikolova said Friday night.

Nikolova and her son had only lived in their house for three months at the time of the fire. Victor has Cerebral Palsy and cannot speak.
"I was afraid that Victor would be traumatized from the experience but his world is very simple. For him there is pain and there is no pain," Nikolova said.

Victor was not traumatized. In fact, he smiled when they returned to their home. Despite Victor and Elena living in the neighborhood for such a short time, neighbors like Julie Hice have become like family.
"We got to know them and love them and for that to have happened was just so tragic for all of us. And they're back now and we couldn't be more happy," Hice said.

Victor and Elena came to the United States eight years ago from Bulgaria so Victor could get better health care. That  American story made Hice think the 4th of July would be a perfect time for a welcome home party. Elena Nikolova couldn't agree more.
"Just a big, big thank you to everybody. I mean we never live alone, we don't suffer alone. So we should not celebrate alone so let's join the party and move on," Nikolova said.

Anderson High School where Victor is a student and Anderson Hills United Methodist Church have also offered Nikolova and Victor support following the fire.

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