DENVER - Two days after flames tore through a Denver home and killed a 47-year-old man suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, the father who had been helping to take care of him
That’s because 72-year-old Ralph Andrade fell on his head while trying to escape his burning house Tuesday night, and is still struggling to make a recovery, said Andrade’s son-in-law BJ Purvis.
"He’s not out of the woods yet. He’s still fighting his way back to us," Purvis said Thursday.
Purvis said there were 5 people in the family home on West Stanford Avenue near South Kipling Street when the fire broke out downstairs.
Ralph was getting dialysis treatment on the second floor with the help of his wife, Josie, when his 21-year-old granddaughter, Lexus, screamed that there was a fire.
Lexus grabbed her 2-year-old daughter, Audra, and ran out of the house, while Josie tried to help her husband, who was very weak and using a walker. The couple couldn’t go back to the first floor because it was engulfed in flames.
"As they were trying to evacuate the house, Josie had to actually give him a shove to get him out of the house," Purvis said.
Ralph hit his head and struggled to get back up. Purvis told Denver7 that neighbors—Dennis (Henrickson) and Shauna helped the Andrade's escape from the second floor.
"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," Henrickson earlier told Denver7. "So I ran around front to get the firefighter's attention and when I came back they were out."
The couple's son, Ralph Andrade IV, was bedridden and immobilized on the first floor. He couldn't get out and died in the fire.
"He had M.S. (Multiple Sclerosis,) Purvis said.
Josie, who is recovering from smoke inhalation at Swedish Medical Center, was told of her son's death the day after.
"Josie was told yesterday. It was very emotional. She took it very hard," Purvis said. "They lived in this home for 38 years so to lose everything and to lose your child… and everything you at times take for granted… to know that is all gone ..."
Her husband is still critical and has not been informed, Purvis said.
"The family’s emotions are very, very high," he added.
Purvis said the family wanted to thank the firefighters and neighbors who rescued them and other "angels" who helped out by donating cash, clothing and blankets.
Family members have started a GoFundMe account to raise funds for medical and other expenses.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.