Vigil held in Cicero for victims of Feb. 2 fire
Hundreds of friends, neighbors, school children and local officials led a vigil to pay tribute to two victims who died in a fire in Cicero on February 4, 2020. One of the victims was a five year old kindergarten student who attended Liberty School.
Officials and community residents packed the playground at Liberty School, 4946 W. 13th Street, in the Town of Cicero Wednesday to pay tribute to the two victims including a five-year-old Liberty School kindergarten students, who perished in a fire in their home.
The fire destroyed a two-story building at 4726 W. 12th Place and took the lives of David Castellano and his five-year-old grandson, David Castellano III Tuesday morning, February 4. More than 250 parents, children and officials from Cicero Elementary School District 99 and from the Town of Cicero including Town President Larry Dominick and District 99 Supt. Rudy Hernandez attended.
Family members of the two victims, including the child’s grandmother and father, were at the vigil, but were so consumed by the tragedy that they could not address the attendees who placed flowers, candles and balloons along the side of the Liberty school building at 4946 W. 13th Street, only blocks away from the Castellano home.
Ismael Vargas, Cicero Chaplain welcomed the community and expressed his support for the Castellano family. Speakers also included District 99 School Board President Tom Tomschin, Police Supt. Jerry Chlada, Fire Chief Dominick Buscemi, Robert Mensch, the principal of Liberty School, and David Castellano’s kindergarten teacher Jamie Georges, Cicero Assessor Emilio Cundari, Clerk Mario Punzo-Arias and Trustee Victor Garcia.
Luis Munoz, a graduate of Liberty Elementary school, played guitar and sang “Amazing Grace” as a tribute to the memory of the two victims as children and David’s classmates in the playground released red balloons shaped like hearts.
“We know there are some of the family members who are her and we will pray at the end of this vigil with them to give them strength,” Vargas said.
Dominick said the Town of Cicero provides smoke detectors to residents free of charge and urged parents to visit the Town’s Fire House on 25th Street to ensure their homes have the protection fo smoke detectors.
“It is a very sad week for the Town of Cicero. When you go home tonight make sure to hug your children and tell them you love them,” Dominick said.
Fighting back tears, District 99 Superintendent Hernandez, said, “This is a tragedy and a moment when we should look around and reflect. We have a lot of little ones here today and I am so glad to see them to let them know that we are here to protect them and keep them safe. … Let them know how much you love them.”
Tomschin, who is also the building commissioner, said he inspected the property following the fire and was struck by the toys and bicycles that were strewn around the property.
“Please keep the Castellano family in your prayers,” Tomschin said.
Buscemi later told reporters that a preliminary investigation of the causes of the fire ruled out foul play and arson. He said investigators were looking into the possible cause as an electrical or mechanical issue and have called in an electrical engineer to assist.