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Family speaks out after 3-year-old dies from injuries suffered in Milwaukee house fire

Gideon Simos
Posted at 8:21 AM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-31 19:04:35-05

MILWAUKEE — A 3-year-old who was badly injured in a house fire at 5th and Madison last week has died, according to a report from the medical examiner.

A toddler and the child's mother were taken to the hospital for burns after a home caught fire Wednesday morning.

A report from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office on Monday states 3-year-old Gideon Simos died from burn injuries suffered at that address.

State Rep. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez said in a social media post that the victims were her sister and her young nephew, Gideon.

"My family is going through a traumatic tragedy that we know we will get through. Gideon will be missed but we know that he is with our lord. I ask that you please keep my sister and brother in law in your prayers, as well as the other children," Ortiz-Velez wrote in the post.

Gideon was the youngest of five children.

The ME's report states he sustained burns of varying degrees to 90% of his body.

According to the ME's investigation, Gideon was asleep with his parents in the bedroom when the father woke up to a fire in the living room. He attempted to put out the fire but it quickly spread and became out of control.

The parents began moving three of their children out of the house. The mother went to get the child, and while doing so she suffered smoke inhalation and lacerations.

A detective reported in the ME's investigation that a 5-year-old sibling who was Autism and is non-verbal set a fire on the couch at the home two weeks before. The ME's report states the parents were able to put that fire out on their own and did not report it to authorities.

As of now there is no suspicion of arson in the fatal fire. Due to the extent of damage investigators have yet to determine where the fire started. The home is completely destroyed.

It was 5 degrees outside on the day of the fire.

"He was so sweet and loving and kind and innocent," said Ortiz-Velez.

Ortiz -Velez is also a state representative and Milwaukee County Supervisor. She went on to say Gideon loved to be around his family and watch Shrek.

"He liked to play with his toy stories and my sister oftentimes called him G.I. Joe, her little soldier. He will be missed. He was too good for this world," Ortiz-Velez said.

"All of us have lost the ability to get to know Gideon more. All of us have lost the future plans that we won't be able to have with Gideon anymore. We're just mourning that right now," said Ortiz-Velez.

Ortiz-Velez asked for prayers for her sister, brother-in-law, and their four other kids to find peace as they get through this enormous loss.

"Cherish every time every moment you have with everyone you love because you don't know when they will be gone. We're not promised tomorrow," Ortiz-Velez said.

A GoFundMe has been created for the mother and child who were injured.

Elaine Santiago-Soto, who lives two doors down, says she woke up to the sound of sirens and firefighters breaking out their gear to take on the flames.

"I saw a person on a stretcher getting pulled away to the ambulance," said Santiago-Soto.

"That's very devastating," said Natalie Vargas, a secretary at Ministerios ALMAS.

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5th and Madison

Because of the cold weather, battling the fire did come with its fair share of challenges.

"What we find here is water and metal, which all of our pumps and the piping on the rigs have, doesn't mix real well when you have such frigid cold temperatures," said Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski.

"As the water is hitting everything, everything is just freezing right away," said Santiago-Soto.

It's unclear what the current conditions of both burn victims are at the moment. Fire officials say a third person was injured outside of the home and did not suffer any burns.

The cause of the fire is still unknown at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

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