One killed in Humboldt Park fire

December 25, 2008 1:33:27 PM PST
One person was killed in a fire in Chicago's Humboldt Park community. Christmas presents were under the tree and 24-year-old Felix Salva was asleep in the attic when fire broke out. Chicago firefighters arrived minutes later but say it was too late.

Salva was dead from smoke inhalation and surrounded by four of the family's five dogs. They were also killed. Hayley, a lab mix, is the only one who made it out alive.

"The dogs tried to wake him up, apparently, because the dogs were around his bed," said Elizabeth Salva, victim's sister.

Felix's older sister, Elizabeth, says her brother was an outgoing and giving person. He was a salesman for T-Mobile and lived with his parents and two other younger siblings, but he was the only one home at the time.

Felix's parents are in Puerto Rico for another family tragedy -- a 12-year-old boy who accidentally hanged himself. Now, they're rushing back to bury their son.

"There's no more Christmas for us...we had another tragedy in the family and he was so sad because he couldn't go," said Elizabeth Salva.

Firefighters say it started near the Christmas tree, possibly sparked by faulty electrical wiring in the Christmas lights.

"We also found smoke detectors, but they were heavily damaged...still uncertain whether or not they were operable," said Joseph Miranda, Chicago Fire Department.

So firefighters went door to door Wednesday, handing out working smoke detectors to residents of this Humboldt Park neighborhood. It is their Christmas gift and effort to prevent another holiday tragedy.

Donations of clothing, food and money are being accepted on behalf of the Salva family at:

Cristo Es La Respuesta (Humboldt Park church)
3545 W. McLean
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 278-7117

Rev. Neftali Arce
(708) 369-6831

Chase Bank
Fundraisier FBO Salva Gonzalez Family
Chicago, IL 60647
Account Number 801561523


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