14-year-old only survivor of blaze that killed family

May 16, 2011 (AURORA, Ill.)

Kindergartner Francisco Marcos Junior, his older brother, fourth grader Jose Marcos, and their parents, Micaela Perez and Francisco Marcos Senior, perished in the fire that erupted Sunday morning.

Relatives of the Marcos family, still in shock over the deaths of four of their relatives, are concerned for 14-year-old Teodoro Marcos, the only family member to survive the tragedy.

"We are trying to be strong, the whole family. We have a lot of family," said Saul Velazquez, victims' cousin.

"He told us that he remembers his mom waking them up, telling that they had to get out, that there was fire. He said that when he got out, there was smoke and that's where they lost each other," said Edith Marcos, victims' cousin.

Meanwhile, the principal of Brady Elementary School, where the deceased boys were students, says counselors are on site to comfort the grief-stricken.

"This certainly hits home for a lot of us. There is a crisis team, and I have been involved in it, with trying to deal with parents and deal with the kids," said Francisco de los Santos, principal of Brady Elementary.

Homemade crosses placed at the scene bore the names of two other victims, 8-month-old Alex Gonzaga and his mother, Christina Domingez, just a day after fire ripped through the three-story 10 unit apartment building, also injuring at least 12 others.

A nearby church is collecting donations for the fire victims.

"I think it's wonderful that people open their hearts to help," said Austerbertha Urbina, Iglesia Bautista Emanuel Church volunteer.

As the relatives of those who perished remain thankful for the outpouring of support, they are still struggling with how to pay to have their loved ones buried in Mexico.

"In our country, in our culture, we have to bury them so we can be at rest ourselves and also have them at rest," said Mali Velazquez, victims' cousin. "We can't believe it. We wish it was a dream, but it's not."

In addition to the community, the Red Cross is helping to place fire survivors at local hotels until they can find a permanent place to live.

A fund has been established for the Marcos family for those who wish to make donations:

Marcos Family
Fifth Third Bank
34 S. Broadway
Aurora, Illinois
Account #7238700665

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