BUFORD, Ga. — A Metro Atlanta family who lost their mother last week in a house fire have now lost their father to COVID-19. The mother, Febe Santos, was recovering from COVID herself when the fire broke out.
Gwinnett County Firefighters said Santos, 41, was unable to escape the basement, where she had been quarantining. The cause of the fire remains unknown, though firefighters have not ruled out multiple power sources contributing to sparking the blaze.
One week later, Santos's husband, Humberto Giron, passed away after battling COVID-19 in the hospital for three weeks. Cousins Joel and Lindsey Banos remembered Giron, 46, as a family man and a loving person, someone who always had a smile on his face and a good attitude.
"Sometimes we wake up, and we don’t believe what happened," Lindsey Banos said. "They were each other’s rock, pushing each other through, very loving couple. Even in death, you couldn’t separate them. They were joined in life and joined in death.”
According to family, Giron owned a gutter business and ministered at Tabernáculo de la Fé in Lawrenceville. Santos was a stay-at-home mother. Their four children have since moved in with the Banos family and their four children.
"It’s obviously been very emotional, very tragic," Lindsey Banos said. "The kids, God bless them, they’re doing the best they can do, and they’re strong as can be. These parents were very involved in their kids’ life at school and church activities, a solid nuclear family, spent a lot of time together.”
The family hopes Giron's death serves as a wake-up call to people not yet vaccinated. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, nearly 20,000 people have died due to COVID complications.
“I know we’re all tired of this, and we want it to be done," Lindsey Banos said. "The reality is we’re not [done] right now. This is very real, and people are hurting. There’s one message we want out there, get your vaccine.”
The Banos family said they had been overwhelmed by the support from across the Atlanta area over the last week. Buford City Schools held fundraisers and rallies for the family. Meantime, Cobb County Schools have offered counseling services, food, clothing, and school supplies for the kids who lost their parents. North Gwinnett Co-op is also accepting donations for the family. The family has an online fundraiser set up as well.
“We’re praying a lot and putting it all in God’s hands and doing the best we can do for the wonderful children who have had their lives thrown upside down," Lindsey Banos said. “It will not be an easy road for them now and in the future, but their family will rally around them, and we’ll help them in every way we can. It’s hard, what we’re going through, but at the same time, with people helping us out, it’s making it easier to go through this process.”