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Community hosts car wash to raise money for mother of fatal house fire victim

Posted at 10:31 PM, Mar 28, 2021

Enrriketa Ramirez and her brother Felix are still trying to wrap their heads around the fact that their neighbor of nearly 10 years, Raphael Gonzalez, is no longer with them after he was tragically killed in a house fire last week.

"It's just heartbreaking you know, you never expect that," said Enrriketa.

"He used to always come to our yard and play because our little siblings were always in the backyard playing and he would always want to go play with them," said Felix.

Neighbors say the 25-year-old was autistic and an only child, but was always making friends and lit up every room he walked into. Which is why on Sunday, an entire community showed up to host a car wash in order to help raise money for Raphael's mother so she can bury her son.

"I really appreciate the people that are helping because I never knew how big someone's heart could be from people that I don't even know," said Raphael's mother, Norma Garcia.

"His mom is by herself she doesn't have a house right now, you know the house burned we need to help her get her up on her feet," said Enrriketa.

The fire broke out on the second floor of Norma's house early Saturday morning on March 20th when her son got trapped inside. According to fire officials, hoarding conditions inside the home made it difficult for them to get to Raphael.

"They tried to save him," said Enrriketa.

"It's been pretty much hard for me. It's only been a week since he's passed away and it's been very hard," said Norma.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fighting fires is, "Very risky in a hoarding home." They say it's hard to enter the home to provide medical care and rescue people and pets.

"I'm heartbroken because you would never expect something like that to happen to a neighbor that you knew for a while," said Felix.

A GoFundMe has also been set up to help Norma with funeral costs. So far more than $11,000 has been raised. Norma says since then she's been able to pick out a casket and burial place for her son.

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