Berks

Fire victim's father: 'My kid would just brighten up a day'

5-year-old boy died in fire inside Hamburg home

HAMBURG, Pa. - The families of a pregnant woman and her two young sons are trying to cope with unimaginable grief after their loved ones were lost in a house fire in Hamburg over the weekend.

Mark Kalinofski, the father of one of the victims -- 5-year-old Gabriel Kalinofski -- told 69 News on Monday that he still can't fathom the death of his son.

"I don't think I cried for the first 20 minutes, because I didn't believe what I was hearing," Kalinofski told WFMZ's Jim Vasil.

Gabriel; his mother, Jennifer Wilder, 27; and her other son, Julian Gust, 2, died as fierce flames and smoke quickly consumed their home in the 400 block of South Fourth Street late Saturday night.

"I called 911 and they told me to stay home, but I wasn't going to stay home. I needed to go," Kalinofski said. "I went around and shook all the firefighters' hands and said, 'Thank you.'"

Kalinofski remembers his son as an "amazing" child who "would just brighten up a day when he walked in the room."

"I just want to tell everybody, 'Appreciate what you got, because it could be gone in a minute.' Everybody needs to know that," he said.


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