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Grieving Merced husband and father talks to ABC30

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A new effort is underway to help the family members who lost their loved ones during a house fire in Merced last week.

Gabino Perez now has only pictures and memories of four family members whose lives were all cut short.

Gabino Perez said, "I feel very alone and very sad after having lost both my wife and my son and my granddaughter and my son in law."

A fire tore through the home where five of his loved ones lived last Tuesday. Investigators say it started in the living room, and they have ruled out arson, but the cause is still unknown.

Gabino's daughter, Maricela, and one-year-old granddaughter Kaily survived and are now recovering. But his five-year-old granddaughter, Geraldine, and five-year-old son, Jesus, were killed, along with his son in law, Ignacio Figueroa.

"We got a telephone call," said Gabino Perez. "That's how we found out, and that was it."

Witnesses reported Ignacio ran back into the home to save the two children, but could not escape the flames. Gabino now remembers him as a hardworking man and dedicated father.

Gabino says the two youngest victims both loved going to school at Don Stowell Elementary and were focused on learning English. His son only moved in with the family after his wife, Ana, was killed in a car crash near Patterson in June.

Attorney Douglas Gessell said, "To be dealt this blow, it's almost incomprehensible."

Gessell is a consulting attorney for the Mexican consulate who's now trying to help the family through the painful aftermath of the tragedy. He's hoping other residents will continue to reach out in any way possible.

"Primarily what we want to the community to know is that there's a family in need, and especially during this time of Christmas that the family needs help from the community," said Gessell.

The family is now planning funerals for the three victims in Mexico. A trust account has been set up to help with those expenses through the Bank of Stockton.

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Tags:
merced, merced county, fire, local, sara sandrik
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