A baby injured in January house fire dies, as death toll rises to 4

Baby dies from E. Charlotte house fire

CHARLOTTE, NC (Cristina Bolling/The Charlotte Observer) - A 4-month-old baby boy who was critically injured during a fatal Jan. 2 Charlotte housefire that took the lives of his mother, brother and sister, has died, the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s office said Wednesday.

Axel Camilo Mendez Sanchez was being treated at Carolinas Medical Center since suffering injuries related to smoke inhalation, and had been in a coma, family members have said.

Nine-year-old Leonel Alexander Villagrez Sanchez, baby Axel’s half-brother, died Jan. 2 from injuries sustained in the fire. Axel’s sister, 2-year-old Aranza Santa Mendez Sanchez, died Jan. 3. And the mother of the three deceased children, Ana Sanchez, died Jan. 5.

Ana Sanchez’ fourth child, Abner Francisco Villagrez Sánchez, 7, is still recovering from injuries he suffered in the fire, said family friend Monica del Cid. Fire officials said they believed the fire was caused by a lit candle.

Ana Sanchez was well known in Charlotte’s Guatemalan community thanks to the shop that she and her husband, Clementino Méndez Domingo, ran on Eastway Drive called Las Maravillas (“the wonders,” in English). The store was packed with Guatemalan clothing, spices, food and household goods that members of the Guatemalan community say are hard to find elsewhere in Charlotte.

Sánchez arrived in the United States 15 years ago at age 15 and had Leonel and Abner with her first husband, then married Méndez Domingo and gave birth to Aranza and Axel.

Hundreds of people from Charlotte’s Guatemalan community flocked to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Jan. 9 for a funeral Mass honoring Sanchez, Aranza and Leonel.

The bodies of all three were flown to Guatemala earlier this week for burial.