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Lisa D'Andrea



BARRINGTON, R.I. -- Lisa D'Andrea was an early riser. She began her mornings with a health club workout, finishing in time to arrive for work by 6:15 a.m. at Cranston East High School, where she taught special education.

D'Andrea, 42, enjoyed fitness, liked going to the beach, and had taken up rowing last year. But she also nurtured a strong affinity for people whose ability to enjoy life to its fullest, as she tried to, was limited because of a disability.

Bethany Aspinwall, a friend and colleague at Cranston East, said D'Andrea felt that she had a true calling in life -- to work with disabled children, and spent nearly nine years working at the Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital, a psychiatric treatment center for children and adolescents in East Providence.

Three years ago, D'Andrea bought Aspinwall's house. It had just enough room for a garden, which allowed D'Andrea to pursue another of her passions.

"She doted over her little flower bed," said Aspinwall. "She felt like her life was OK."

The last time Aspinwall saw D'Andrea was Feb. 19, a day before D'Andrea died in the fire at The Station.

"It was a school vacation week so she went with some other friends" to the nightclub, said Aspinwall. "If it wasn't school vacation, she would not have gone, not on a weeknight."