By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
A GoFundMe page has been created for a Keizer family, whose father and 6-year-old daughter passed away days after a fire engulfed their duplex on Thursday, Oct. 26.
Telese Hoerauf, a neighbor who started the GoFundMe, said she was having a normal Thursday night when she heard knocking next door and cries of “Daddy, daddy.”
“I heard panic in one of the girl’s voice and could hear that she was scared,” Hoerauf said. “I was thinking maybe they got locked out of the house or something. I opened my front door and came outside and could see smoke coming out of the house.”
The oldest of the five Ruvalcaba kids, a 7-year-old girl, had rescued her 2-year-old twin brother and sister and 4-year-old brother. However, her 6-year-old sister and father Miguel remained in the house.
Their mom wasn’t home.
Hoerauf said she did everything she could to help, including calling 911 and entering the house on her hands and knees. But there was too much smoke.
“I ran over there and grabbed the kids and ran them over to my house,” Hoerauf said. “I got on my hands and knees and tried to go to the back bedroom where the little girl had said her sister was. My husband opened the sliding glass door and tried to get to where the dad was but it was way too smoky so we had to go back out and then went back in for a second time. Then there was even more smoke.”
Keizer Fire District were dispatched to the fire in the 1400 block of Rozilla Court Northeast at 11:40 p.m. Salem Fire also responded as Miguel and the young girl were pulled out of the fire unconscious at 11:52 p.m.
“When we arrived there was heavy, heavy fire and smoke,” said deputy fire marshal Anne-Marie Storms, who added the cause of the fire is under investigation but the garage is the main focus.
The couple on the other side of the duplex evacuated their home unharmed with their 7-month-old child but Storms said there was damage to one of the bedrooms, bathroom and smoke throughout.
Miguel and his daughter, Brixa, were taken to Salem Hospital in critical condition before being transferred to Legacy Emanuel and Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland. Miguel died Saturday. Brixa then passed away Sunday.
Hoerauf and her husband have lived next to the Ruvalcaba’s for about a year. Their children played in the cul-de-sac together. Miguel would share fruit and vegetables.
“They were very, very nice people,” Hoerauf said.
Hoerauf started the GoFundMe page on Saturday, Oct. 28 and has raised more than $7,500. Along with money, the family is accepting clothing.
One girl wears size 14/16 and shoe size 4. One boy wears size 6/7 and shoe size 1. The 2-year-old girl and 2-year-old boy wear clothes size 3T and shoes size toddler 7. The mom wears clothes size 4XL and shoe size 12. They are looking for size 5 diapers or pullups. Donations are also being accepted at Weddle Elementary School.
“I couldn’t do more to save them so me and my husband feel that this is what we can do to help them more,” Hoerauf said.