MASON CITY, Iowa – It has been a little over 10 days since a house fire in Mason City claimed the life of 3-year-old Vicente Gonzalez.
Gonzalez’s father Jesse was home when the fire started and says he did all he could to try and save his son’s life.
“My safety was not of my concern,” he says. “I honestly didn’t care about myself. My number one priority was to find my little boy and make sure he was OK. I tried everything I could. I even broke windows out so I could climb through them.”
After community members learned about the young boy’s death, many started to help out, including Boulder Tap House, where Vicente’s mother works. It’s a place the family says created a lot of memories.
“That was our little hang out. Me and my little boy would go there and hang out. He would have his chocolate milk and we would sit there and just chill,” Gonzalez says.
The restaurant held a fundraiser for the family on Tuesday, donating 15 percent of their sales, which totaled more than $1,800.
“It’s heartwarming. The community and friends and family that came together to help us out in this tragic time, especially in a time of giving, it’s very heartwarming,” he says.
The family says they are grateful for everything the community has been doing for them and they have even started giving back in Vicente’s memory.
“We donated all of his Christmas presents, in his name, to Toys for Tots,” Gonzalez says. “All of them, everything we could find.”