Teen who pulled little brother from duplex fire speaks with FOX6

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WEST ALLIS (WITI) -- What caused a fire at a West Allis duplex that killed two teenagers? It's a question many are asking -- but there is still no answer.

While authorities continue to investigate what caused Sunday's fatal fire, we are learning more about the two boys who didn't make it out of the home, and hearing for the first time from Joel Gonzales -- the 13-year-old who helped rescue his four-year-old brother from the burning home.

"When I went back into the house to get my little brother, I stepped on something hot, and then it burned," Joel Gonzales said.

Firefighters have called Joel Gonzales' actions heroic.

"It makes me feel like I have people on my side that are here for me," Joel Gonzales said.

Unfortunately, the flames were too much for Gonzales to rescue everyone from the duplex.

Michael Gonzales, Isaiha Kobow

Michae lGonzales, Isaiha Kobow

On Monday, March 18th, students gathered to remember a popular basketball player, Isaiha Kobow, who was in the eighth grade. Isaiha was staying with his friend, 14-year-old Michael Gonzales. The two were found dead in the attic of the Gonzales' house after a fire raced through the upper unit of the duplex.

13-year-old Joel Gonzales managed to escape and take his four-year-old brother to safety. The two were taken to the hospital with injuries, but had been released as of Monday, March 18th.

"I heard the one older child who was able to get out did go back inside to get the four-year-old and was able to remove the four-year-old. But because of the flames couldn't go back in," Charles Padgett, Acting West Allis Police Chief said.

"That's absolutely amazing. I know Joel. I know Joel well and I know for a fact he will never be the same," Jeffrey Taylor, the principal at West Milwaukee Middle School said.

Taylor knows both Joel Gonzales and Isaiha Kobow. Joel transferred from the school a couple months ago. Isaiha was still a student there.

At the middle school, classmates talked to counselors and set up a Facebook page in memory of Isaiha.

"A very easy going guy. Every body liked him. A very handsome kid. He played basketball for us a couple years and was very popular like that. A good student, a good kid and he is going to be missed," Taylor said.

Gonzales went to Wedgewood Park International School in Milwaukee. A statement from Milwaukee Public School District says their thoughts are with the students, family and friends.

Celeste Perkins knew both boys, and went to school with Kobow.

"You enjoyed having them in your life and the feeling of them gone is just crazy because you just ran into them the same day. You could just see that chair is empty and he wasn't there, and just the feeling of him not there was so weird. He was just the one who always made everyone laugh. We never knew this day would come," Perkins said.

Perkins says he is hoping for the best for Joel Gonzales.

"He has a full recovery, and he comes out a hero for saving his brother," Perkins said.

A fund has been set up for the family of 14-year-old Isaiha Kobow. Donations can be made at any Landmark Credit Union.

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