‘It’s still tough:’ Balloon release marks 5 years since fatal duplex fire in West Allis

MILWAUKEE -- Five years after tragedy, a family continues to pay tribute. Saturday, March 17, marks the five-year anniversary of a fatal house fire that took the lives of two teens, Isaiha Kobow and Michael Gonzalez.

Saturday, Kobow's mother remembered her young son.

Isaiha Kobow

Michael Gonzalez

Lori Cheever

"It's still tough. It's really tough to be here," said Lori Cheever, Isaiha's mom.

At 57th and Lapham, loved ones came together to pay tribute to the young life lost.

"Fifteen years of life and he was amazing," Cheever said.

They stood in a spot that five years ago, brought them so much grief.

57th and Lapham fire

Since then, every year, Kobow's mom has come together with family and friends to turn their grief into something positive.

"I had 15 of the most amazing years with him and I couldn't have asked for better," Cheever said.

They wrote messages on balloons and shared memories.

"It shows me what my brother meant to other people," said Zach Cheever, Isaiha's older brother.

They said one final goodbye before releasing the balloons into the air.

"Being here just shows how amazing he is and how amazing you guys are," said Cheever.

A final farewell on a tragic day that continues to unite friends and family.

"He taught me to be as strong as I am today," Cheever said.

Kobow's mother says, this was the final balloon release; they are closing one chapter and thinking of new ways to remember him.

Lori Cheever