Ana Sanchez, the mother of the two children who died in the fire, died around 6 a.m. Saturday morning, said Monica del Cid, a leader in Charlotte’s Guatemalan community and a friend of Sanchez’.
The Mecklenburg County Coroner’s office also confirmed that Sanchez died
around 5:40 a.m. Saturday, according to the Observer’s news partner, WBTV.
“Our community is devastated,” del Cid said.
Sanchez was well known in the city’s Latino community. She and her husband owned a small grocery, Las Maravillas, in east Charlotte.
She was active in events and festivals promoting Guatemalan heritage and culture, said Rafael Prieto, a local Latino journalist and organizer of events celebrating Latin American heritage.
Seven people, including Sanchez, were hospitalized following the fire on Academy Street in east Charlotte. On Saturday afternoon, two of Sanchez’s children remained hospitalized with serious injuries: 3-month-old Axel and 7-year-old Abner.
The blaze was caused by an unattended candle or candles, the Charlotte Fire Department said in a tweet
Sanchez’ husband, Clementino Mendez Domingo, was leaving work in Union County and on the phone with his wife when she noticed the fire
, according to the 911 call with Mendez Domingo.
Cristina Espana, vice consul of the consulate of Guatemala in Raleigh, said the consulate is helping the family with the documents and funds needed to send the bodies of Sanchez and her children to Guatemala for burial.
“It’s heartbreaking. They were very good people,” Espana said.