Girlfriend of Man Who Died in Oakland Fire Finds Long-Lost Photo Through Social Media

She took to Facebook to find the picture, which was taken by a random photographer.

The girlfriend of one of the Oakland fire victims found a moment of beauty amid tragedy when social media helped her recover a long-lost photo of the pair.

Saya Tomioka’s boyfriend, Griffin Maddens, was killed in the warehouse blaze that claimed the lives of 35 others earlier this month.

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On December 4, Tomioka took to Facebook to ask, on a whim, for a miracle.

Maddens, 23, and Tomioka had gone to Times Square in June 2015 after seeing a play and shared a kiss. A photographer captured the special moment.

“I remember tears swelling my eyes because the city was so beautiful and amidst all the lights, I got to look at the brightest light of all, my sweetie. I cried, and we kissed,” Tomioka wrote in her plea. “Some random photographer captured this very moment, this very kiss.... I never got his name, and he just simply showed us the single beautiful snap shot that he was able to capture."

Tomioka hoped by sharing the story on Facebook she could find the photographer. 

What happened next proved that miracles do happen.

Photographer Arken Aven saw the post from one of his "NYPD friends," who had been one of 420 people to share the post.

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"I decided to check my archive from last year, but wasn't sure if that was me and there are more than 200,000 photos in there,” Arken told

But to his own surprise, he found the photo.

“It's good to know my work could bring some light in such a sad moment like this,” Arken said. 

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