Mom of 3 Dies After Saving Her Kids from Colorado Apartment Fire
A Colorado family is in mourning after a fire broke out at their apartment complex, ultimately killing a mom and wife.
Lilian Esperanza Castro died on Oct. 30, just one day after her home in Aurora caught fire, according to a GoFundMe page set up for the mom of three's family.
In her final moments, Castro was prioritizing her children as she desperately attempted to get them out of the burning building, her husband Jose Omar Benegas, told NBC affiliate KUSA.
Though she successfully helped two children escape, Castro was unable to do so herself, the outlet reported.
The blaze initially broke out on Oct. 29 just after 11:45 p.m. local time, according to a press release from Aurora Fire Rescue.
Benegas told the outlet that he and his family were sleeping when he received a call from his nephew notifying him that a fire had broken out inside their apartment complex.
Almost instantly, Benegas got out of bed and grabbed his 2-year-old daughter. Together, they tried to escape through the hallway but it was too late, as the flames had already engulfed that exit, KUSA reported.
With no other options, Benegas told the outlet he ran towards the window and helped his daughter out the third floor, before jumping out himself.
In the meantime, Castro quickly gathered their two sons, ages 14 and 8, and safely threw them down to Benegas, but she was unable to save herself, according to KUSA.
Aurora officials noted in the press release that the "multi-family structure fire" was upgraded to a second alarm fire, which included the response of six engine companies, four ladder companies, two battalion chiefs and more than six medic units.
Firefighters attempted to extinguish the flames, search the building and rescue residents who were trapped inside, according to the press release.
A total of 13 patients were evaluated by paramedics at the scene, Aurora fire officials said. Five others were transported to local hospitals, with two of those people suffering from life-threatening injuries.
It was later confirmed that one of those patients — presumed to be Castro — died at the hospital, the press release stated.
"The entire building was rendered uninhabitable and approximately 60 residents were displaced," Aurora Fire Rescue said. "The Red Cross was notified and worked to assist those needing shelter."
The origin and cause of the fire were initially under investigation, but Aurora Fire Rescue has since updated the press release to confirm that the incident had been ruled as arson and the resulting fatality as a homicide.
Officials are now looking for a person of interest and offering a reward of up to $5,000 for anyone with information.
In the wake of the tragedy, a GoFundMe page was set up on behalf of Castro's family to assist with "the unexpected expenses of her funeral and the transportation of her body to El Salvador, where she will be buried."
So far, the page has raised over $6,300. Those interested in donating to the GoFundMe can so do here.
Benegas, who has since stopped working to care for his kids, told KUSA that while he and his family are physically okay, they are now hoping that there will be justice in finding the person who may have set the apartment ablaze.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).
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