Tragedy struck the family of longtime Studio City cook Oscar Reyes at Henry's Tacos, and the community is coming together to try to help him.
In an exclusive interview with Studio City Community Activism Examiner, former Henry's Tacos owner Janis Hood said she is collecting money to help her longtime friend and cook, Oscar, whose wife Gisela and 19-month-old son Dillan were killed in a garage fire in South Los Angeles on Wednesday.
UPDATE: The band Stereo Love played a free concert encouraging donations on Friday afternoon/evening, and dozens of people showed up and saw the posters asking for help.
"Oscar was at work after dropping his 7-year-old boy at school, and then someone came to him at Henry's and told him that there was a fire," Hood said late Thursday. "He is devastated of course, and I want to help him in any way possible."
The loss was unimaginable. He rushed to the house and found the place in flames and shouted "My baby! My baby!"
The boy had no pulse when firefighters got to the scene, and he was pronounced dead at the hospital. The mother was found later.
"He suddenly found himself without a wife, without a child, and without a home," Hood said. "We need to help him out."
NOTE: There will be a new online site that people can help Oscar and his son, but until then, people can also drop donations off at Henry's Tacos in Studio City at 4389 Tujunga Ave. in Studio City. Hood was taking a class at Moorpark College when she heard of the news.
Janis said, "Oscar must bury his wife and son and provide a new home and belongings for himself and his son Kenny."
Oscar has greeted the customers at the Studio City site at Tujunga and Moorpark with a big grand smile since 2006 where he served as head cook with Omar Vega, who took over the restaurant from Hood and her family, and moved from the location.
"Oscar is a much loved member of the Henry's Tacos family and he needs our help," Hood said.
Please help Oscar with donations for his wife and son's funeral expenses and to help him rebuild.
See video of the Reyes fire from KTLA Channel 5 by clicking here: ktla.com/2014/03/06/19-month-old-boy-killed-in-south-l-a-fire and click here for Channel 4 video: nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Fire-Fatalities-Spike
The Los Angeles County Coroner's office confirmed that Dillan Reyes and his mother died in the converted garage at about noon on Wednesday. They succumbed to smoke and flames in the 350-square-foot garage apartment behind the home at 100 E. 50th Street near downtown Los Angeles. There was no smoke alarm. The fire was put out in nine minutes.
This is the 10th and 11th fatality in houses in Los Angeles so far this year, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. In the few short months of the year, it's more than half of the usual 20 fire deaths that occur each year in the city.
You can also add messages to Oscar on the Henry's Taco Facebook site (CLICK HERE)
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