Family holds vigil for boys lost in fire
WEST ALLIS – The two boys who survived Sunday’s fire joined friends and family at a candlelight vigil Tuesday. Joel Gonzales, 13, and his brother, Kendall Henson, 4, were released from Children’s Hospital Monday evening.
Gonzalez is credited with saving Kendall from the blaze. The four-year-old told the crowd gathered at the vigil about his brother’s heroism.
“Joel said ‘Where’s Kendall?’ and I said ‘Right here’”.
The smoke was so thick the two couldn’t see each other.
When Gonzalez went back in, he found his brother, Michael, on the stairs but he couldn’t get him out, according to his dad, John Gonzales.
“I’m just glad Joel had the strength that day…unfortunately he couldn’t save the other two but he saved at least one,” he said.
Fourteen-year-old Michael Gonzales and his friend, Isaiha Kobow were killed.
Tuesday, Michael’s family huddled around one another outside the home wearing Michael’s favorite colors; red and black. The 14-year-old was a huge Wisconsin Badger’s fan.
John Gonzales broke down thinking about the night his son died, feeling guilt for not checking in on them.
“Something told me maybe I should have picked up the phone,” he said.
Gonzales tells TODAY’S TMJ4 he was with Michael and Joel earlier in the evening, and they’d gone to the mall. They were going to a birthday party for Joel after that. But John said he didn’t know the boys were going back to their mom’s duplex.
Their mom was not home at the time of the fire, and during the vigil, John Gonzalez spoke directly to other parents.
“For the parents out there, you know pick up that phone," he said. "Call your kids. If you’ve got this gut feeling you know.”
Authorities haven’t said what caused the fire but Kendall’s father said they’ve been told an electrical issue in a bedroom may be to blame.
The family has planned a Sunday funeral for Michael Gonzales.