PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A community remembered three boys and their hero father on Friday evening. It’s been nearly a week since a house fire in Kensington took their lives.
It was early Sunday morning when huge flames raced through the Kensington rowhome.READ MORE: Enhanced Risk For Severe Weather Across Philadelphia Region Monday Afternoon
Alexia Arroyo-Rios pushed his wife, Yasmin, to safety while he went back for his boys: Alexangel, Yadriel, and Yamalier.
Family members are overcome with emotion.
“I want to be strong because my daughter tells me that I just want you to be strong,” Edgar Santana said.
Yasmin’s father Edgar Santana spoke with CBS3 at a vigil on Friday night at St. James Pentecostal Church and he says he is grateful for the outpouring of support.
“People have hugged me and I don’t even know who they are and they hugged me,” Santana said.
Firefighters also handed out fire safety information to the crowd and the boys’ teachers and principal spoke about the young lives lost.READ MORE: All Eyes On Pennsylvania Primary As Tuesday's Election Day Approaches
“One would describe them all as model students as you heard today, students who just made everything brighter and there will be a void,” Principal of Lewis Elkins Elementary Charlotte Gillum-Maddox said.
The community, family and friends also paid their respects to a makeshift memorial outside the home on Hartville Street. The front steps were filled with balloons, candles, flowers and stuffed animals.
Yasmin’s father asked for one thing as his daughter recovers in a local hospital.
“The only thing I can ask for now is to have my daughter in my prayers, please,” Santana said.
The cause of the fire has not been released. But, what we do know is there were no working smoke detectors inside the home.
This has become an issue across the city.
Philadelphia’s fire chief Adam Thiel urges residents to make sure they have fire prevention strategies in place.MORE NEWS: Police: 14-Year-Old Boy Shot In Leg In Philadelphia's Haddington Neighborhood
The fire marshall’s office is investigating.