Family members of Christian Haro and his great grandfather, both of whom died in a Sunday morning Pacifica house fire, shared their memories, and grief, at a vigil Monday night. The two are relatives of Redwood City firefighter Abel Virgen, whose fellow firefighters have to help his family get back on their feet.
Although the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office has yet to officially identify the bodies, family members—many of whom escaped the three-alarm blaze—told mourners at the vigil that they hoped to have the 13-year-old's body back this weekend, and his 91-year-old great grandfather’s soon after. They have already begun planning a service.
Tanya Haro, Christian’s aunt, remembers him as an active, happy, loving youth.
“He was a good kid, he was full of life, he was great,” she said Monday night. “He skateboarded, he loved the beach, and he loved to be with family more than anything. He loved his brother, he loved his parents.”
Christian’s first cousin, Tamarinda Haro, was with him the Friday before the tragedy, and was supposed to spend the weekend at the house where Christian died at 552 Inverness Drive, but due to a last-minute change in plans, she was elsewhere Sunday morning.
“He was like my little brother, he was always around, he was always smiling, always laughing, he made funny faces,” she said. “He was just the best kid around. He loved his family.”
Christian’s grandmother, Irma Haro, was also caught in the fire but managed to escape along with many other family members safely.
Even as she prayed for the soul of her father and her grandson at the vigil, her anger and frustration at what she believes was God’s work was evident.
“This is unexplainable. You can’t think of a way of thanking God, you know, you can’t thank him,” she said. “I thank God for having my father live 91 years, but I cannot thank him. I was angry, I told God, ‘How can I thank you? Christian is only 13. I thank you for the long life you gave my father but I cannot thank you right now for taking my grandson.’ That’s very hard, not only on us, but his father and mother. What kind of lesson is this?”
Still, she said, maybe some good will come of a terrible event.
“Maybe he wants to bring us all together, not only his family, maybe his neighbors, because now, you know nobody says good morning, good afternoon, like when I was growing up,” she said.
She looked at Christian as a role model for his younger siblings and cousins, and would tell him so when she gave him advice about living right. Now, though, she said she’s not sure what to say to family members that looked up to the boy.
“He was the oldest, and I always told him, ‘you’re the oldest, whatever you do, your brothers, your cousins, they all live here, and I said, you’re going to live by what you teach them,’ but now, what do I tell the other ones?” she said. “Now, what do I tell Sebastian, Xavier, Siana, Irma, what do I tell them? They’re going to ask me, 'now, what happened here, you tell us to go to church,' they pray to God, they pray to the Virgin Mary and what happened now?”
The family has not notified Patch at this time about memorial and funeral arrangements.
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