Family loses father and entire home in water heater explosion

A family is mourning the death a their father who died after his homes water heater exploded. (Nov. 16, 2016)

On Tuesday, Jaime Gonzales of Stockton was just trying to fix his family's water heater when it exploded. Jaime was taken to the hospital with third degree burns, where he later passed away. 

He leaves behind a wife and three young sons. Daniel, the oldest son, is a senior at Edison High School. The school has more than 2100 students - it's actually the largest in the Stockton Unified School District. But this tragedy affecting one students family is now affecting the entire campus. 

"A teacher put it out in an email: [Daniel] is the best of what Edison has to offer," said Angelo Sandoval, who was Daniel's former AP U.S. History teacher. 

Brad Franca, Daniel's current AP Government teacher, shared similar sentiments.

"Daniel's one of those students asking a lot of questions. In fact, Daniel was a little disappointed his birthday was the day after the election so he didn't get to vote!" said Franca. "He was like 'I missed it by one day!' Again, that's the really sad thing about this. It was just his birthday last week, now he's dealing with this tragedy." 

Sandoval and Franca also said that Daniel was a great classmate and friend.

"He has all the respect from his classmates. He's funny. He gets along well with his classmates," said Sandoval. "He'll help people in need, those who need it. I've never heard anyone say a bad word about Daniel."

Daniel has a 4.16 GPA, is part of the National Honor Society, President of the Chinese Club, Anime Club, and more.

"He's just one of those kids we're gonna root for. A lot of kids on the South side come from tough circumstances," explained Franca. "He's gonna be something, make something of himself."

Perhaps what's even more heartbreaking, Daniel's father will not be able to see him graduate, walk across the stage, and celebrate all of his accomplishments.

"There's unfortunately nothing we can do to help with that part. That's the worst part," said Sandoval. "Being from this area [and and Edison alum], I feel students' pain. As somebody who's lost both parents, I could not imagine that happening while I was in high school, especially for my senior year, preparing for college and for prom."

Not only is the Gonzales family dealing with the loss of a husband and a father, but they are also dealing with being homeless. Their entire house was burned down, destroying all their physical belongings and memories.

"They're living at their uncle's house," said Sandoval. "The clothes, whatever they have left filled is with ash, smell of smoke."

Edison High School will be collecting clothes and other household items for the family. On Wednesday, staff will also compete in a cookie bake-off as a fundraiser. 

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help the family with their tragic loss. 

 

Copyright 2016 KXTV


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