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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Family Launches GoFundMe To Help Pay For Funerals Of Lane Tech Student And Brother Who Died In Fire

Abelardo and Pedro Sanchez were trapped by a fire in an attic of a Back of the Yards home Wednesday.

Abelardo Sanchez (left) and Pedro Sanchez. The brothers died in an attic fire in Back of the Yards Wednesday.
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BACK OF THE YARDS — A family has launched a fundraising campaign to pay for the funerals of two brothers, one of them a student at Lane Tech High School, who died in a fire in Back of the Yards Wednesday.

The fire broke out at a home in the 2000 block of West 53rd Street at about 8:35 a.m. Wednesday, police said. The cause of the fire was not immediately known on Friday.

There was no smoke detector located in the home’s second-floor attic and the brothers — Abelardo Sanchez, 24, and Pedro Sanchez, 16 — were trapped by a heavy fire in the back of the building, according to the fire department.

On Wednesday, Catalina Gamino, a cousin of the two brothers, launched a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money to cover the cost of the family’s funeral expenses. As of Friday, the campaign had been shared more than 4,700 times on Facebook and had raised $18,176 of its $20,000 goal.

Gamino said the brothers were survived by their parents, Eduardo Sanchez and Clementina Vargas, and three siblings, Raul, Eduardo and Chavita.

“This tragedy has touched many of us,” she wrote. “My aunt and uncle are the type of people who go out of their way to help others, who will call you to come have lunch or coffee, just because.”

Abelardo liked movies and to hang out with his friends, but he was always “very tight” with his family, Gamino said.

Abelardo and Pedro often read comic books and watched superhero movies as a family, said their brother Raul Sanchez, 22, discussing the plot and characters of “Avengers Assemble” and “Infinity War.”

“Pedro also liked video games, martial arts. He was a black belt in Taekwondo,” Raul Sanchez said. “Everything, we did it together. We were always together.”


The Lane Tech Alumni Association identified Pedro Sanchez as a student at the school who was set to graduate in 2021.

“Our collective sympathies go out to the Sanchez family, friends and teachers,” association leaders wrote in a Facebook post.

While the Sanchez family is mourning their loss, they have been comforted by support they’ve received from friends, strangers and the Lane Tech community, Gamino said.

“My uncle is just so overwhelmed and extremely thankful for everyone who has helped the family,” she said.

The brothers’ causes of death were still pending Friday, according to Natalia Derevyanny, a spokesperson for the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

The family is still planning the memorial service for Abelardo and Pedro Sanchez, will share more details soon, Gamino said.