Disabled son dies in fire; Dad fights for life

Posted at 4:32 PM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 02:00:32-05

The father of a bedridden victim killed in a house fire in southwest Denver Tuesday night is fighting for his life after he ran into the burning home to rescue his son. 

"We are all praying for him," said granddaughter Danielle Romero. "And we are hopeful."

Ralph Andrade III is listed in serious condition at Denver Health. He was injured after he tried to save his disabled son, Ralph Jr. Andrade, who died in the blaze. 

Romero said her grandmother, Josie Andrade, who also ran back into the home, is in better condition, but is still recovering in the hospital after Tuesday night's fire in the area of W. Stanford Avenue and S. Kipling Street.

Family members said Ralph Jr. Andrade had multiple sclerosis and used a wheelchair.

Denver Fire is investigating the cause of the blaze, but said several Good Samaritans helped the older couple to get out alive.

"They're the reason people are alive," said neighbor Brian Bender, who heard the commotion after the house was fully engulfed.

Dennis Henrikson was one of the neighbors who ran to help, putting ladders against the house and trying to assist the couple getting out of the second-story window.

"I put the ladder up to window, and I tried to go up there, but the smoke was so bad that I was losing my breath and kept having to go down," said Henrickson. "So, I ran around front to get the firefighter's attention and when I came back they were out."

Henrickson had to be monitored at the hospital for smoke inhalation, but said he didn't want to be considered a hero.

"This was a community effort," he said. "This was about Ralph and Josie. They are the best neighbors."

Friends and neighbors had begun leaving flowers in front of the Andrade house to pay their respects.

"I just hope they're OK," said Jane Martinez. "They are such good people. Josie takes care of her husband and her son, who had MS."

Family members have started a GoFundMe account to raise funds for medical and other expenses. The family is planning to hold a press conference at Swedish Medical Center on Thursday at 10 a.m. at the ER entrance. 


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