Classmates grieve after West Allis student dies in duplex fire

March 19, 2013

West Allis - Students at West Milwaukee Intermediate School were still recovering this week following the death of one of their classmates caught in a duplex fire in West Allis early Sunday.

Isaiah Kobow, an eighth-grader, was a very popular student at the school who played on the basketball team, said Principal Jeffery Taylor.

"He was a sweet kid," Taylor said.

Counselors from all over the district converged on the school Monday to help students deal with the loss.

"And we needed every one of them," Taylor said. "The kids were very upset when they got to school."

By 10 a.m., emotions had leveled out, although not everything was back to normal on Tuesday.

The school will hold an assembly Friday in Isaiah's honor, and a fund has been set up for the family at the Landmark Credit Union.

He was one of two 14-year-old boys who didn't escape the fire in the 1600 block of South 57th Street.

Firefighters were called to the duplex at 3:35 a.m. Sunday. The family living on the first floor got out, but the two boys were found upstairs. Two other boys, ages 13 and 4, who also had been upstairs escaped the fire. They were taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. The 13-year-old attends Lincoln Intermediate School.

The parents of the children who lived in the upper flat were not home at the time of the fire but returned subsequently, said Acting Police Chief Charles Padgett.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but authorities said there are indications that it started on the second floor.

The first floor of the building had a working smoke detector, police said. A smoke detector found on the second floor was too damaged to tell if it was working at the time of the fire.

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