As family and friends of three siblings killed in a car crash made preparations for a special candlelight vigil in their honor, Miami-Dade firefighters raised money to help bury them.
Miami Dade firefighters dashed between cars during the morning commute Thursday. They were trying to gather enough money to bury the three children dollar by dollar. One driver gave a new $100 bill.
"I like to help the most I can." said another driver.
Some money and some prayers are all this community can offer to the Serrano family. The Serranos lost their three children, Hector, Esmeralda and Amber, on Sunday morning. Police said Gabriel Del Risco was driving the SUV that rear-ended their minivan at a stop light on Southwest 211th Street. Del Risco has had dozens of moving violations in the last eight years, including a DUI.
"To lose all of your kids in one shot is something to me that is unimaginable," said Lt. Richard Ramirez of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
The first responders from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue felt helpless that they couldn't save the children. The least they could do, they believe, is to help the Serranos pay to lay their children to rest. The parents can't afford the funeral for the children, who they thought would outlive them.
"We have a connection to this family now. It's an unfortunate connection, but we have a connection, and I think this is just a way for us to help them to try to move on in their life. They're going to go through things I can't even think possible," Ramirez said.
Brianis Mazon wanted to help, as well, by collecting money in her neighborhood.
Mazon brought her collection to the firefighters during the morning rush, while commuters passed through the intersection where the Serrano children were killed. Two makeshift memorials mark the place.
Drivers were compelled to offer what they could.
"Just everybody getting together to help a family they don't even know, it's heartwarming," said Tammy Mendes, one of the drivers who donated to the Serrano family fund.
So far, the firefighters have raised about $20,000 from drivers at the intersection on Thursday morning. They will be out to collect more donations Thursday between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
A vigil for the Serrano children will be held on Thursday at 7 p.m. at St. Martin De Porres Catholic Church on Southwest 288th Street. The funeral will be held there on Saturday.
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