Loved ones remember Michael Gonzales following fatal fire

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HALES CORNERS (WITI) -- One week after a duplex fire that took his life, 14-year-old Michael Gonzales was remembered on Sunday, March 24th.

The fire broke out in a duplex near 57th and Lapham early Sunday morning, March 17th.

14-year-old Gonzales and 14-year-old Isaiha Kobow lost their lives in the fire.

"We're really fortunate that people have been compassionate towards us and I, we really appreciate that because it is very hard," Gonzales' cousin Carmen said.

A visitation for Michael Gonzales was planned for Sunday, March 24th from 2:00 until 7:00 p.m. -- and funeral services followed.

Gonzales will be buried on Monday at Good Hope Cemetery.

"His dreams and aspirations one day was to be an NFL football player, and we knew Michael had the talent," Gonzales' cousin Carmen said.

13-year-old Joel Gonzales was able to rescue his four-year-old brother from the fire. The two were taken to the hospital, treated and released.

"Joel is doing physically well, but again, he will end up going through the grieving process like the rest of us," Gonzales' cousin Carmen said.

Officials have said no parents were inside the home at the time of the fire.

Police say the official cause of the fire remains "undetermined." Police say officials have not found any evidence that would indicate the fire was an intentional act.

The cause of death for 14-year-old Michael Gonzales and 14-year-old Isaiha Kobow has been determined to be: carbon monoxide intoxication and thermal injury. The manner of death is "accidental."

"There one day, and gone the next. It is difficult," Gonzales' cousin Carmen said.

Funeral services for Isaiha Kobow are planned for Saturday, March 30th at West Milwaukee Intermediate School -- located near 51st and Greenfield. A viewing is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. until noon, followed by a service.

Additionally, several benefits have been planned following this fire:

  • Friday, March 22, 2013, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Club International 721 S. Cesar E Chavez Dr.
  • Tuesday, March 26, 2013, from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at McDonald’s 4275 S. 27th St.
  • Saturday, March 30, 2013, all day at Monkey Bar 1619 S. 1st St.
  • Thursday, April 4, 2013, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Kosciuszko Community Center 2201 S. 7th St. Admission is $5, for ages 12-17. The event includes music by DJ Monk, a b-boy exhibition, a bake sale and a 50/50 raffle -- as well as concessions.