'It’s just heartbreaking': Eastpointe fatal fire shatters family
In life, the Radosavacs were a memorable family.
As successful professionals and bodybuilders, parents Jasmina and Slavoljub “Steve” awed strangers. Meanwhile, teen daughters Mia and Anja were “super sweet, just the nicest kids you would ever meet — shy but witty and cute,” godfather Joey Zago said.
That image instantly was shattered early Saturday, when fire ravaged the family’s Eastpointe home.
Steve and Jasmina Radosavac, both 40, died at the scene. Daughter Anja, 13, was hospitalized in critical condition but succumbed to her injuries Monday afternoon, city police confirmed.
Her 16-year-old sister has been released from the hospital after being treated for minor wounds and burns, relatives said. Meanwhile, supporters are working to raise money through GoFundMe for her long-term care as well as three funerals.
“It’s just heartbreaking,” Zago said.
Authorities still are working to determine what led to the blaze, which was reported in the 21000 block of Nevada.
“Hopefully within a few days, we will have some answers to this tragedy,” George Rouhib Jr., the city’s public safety director, told The Detroit News.
Mia Radosavac reported awaking in a room to what sounded like items falling on an upstairs floor, then her parents and sister screaming, Zago said in a Facebook post. The teen turned a searing-hot doorknob to find smoke and flames filling the hallway to the right, forcing her to run in the other direction and flee through a back entrance, Zago wrote.
Several witnesses called 911 about 7 a.m. to report the incident, according to the city. The Fire Department pulled out Steve, Jasmina and Anja, but the parents soon perished, investigators reported.
When Mia Radosavac learned her sister also had passed away, the high school student “fell to the floor screaming,” Zago said. “She’s going to be dealing with this for years to come. ... We really need some help from a lot more people."
Supporters plan a vigil at the fire scene Tuesday, Zago said. Visitation for the family is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at E.J. Mandziuk & Son Funeral Directors in Sterling Heights, while services are expected Monday at the city's Nativity of the Virgin Mary Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral, he said.
News of the deaths stunned friends.
“I’m lost for words and completely devastated,” friend Brian Jeffries wrote on Facebook.
The loss also was raw for Zago, who credited Steve Radosavac with spurring him to launch his carpet business. “A lot was due to his support and his constant driving force and inspiring me to really push harder and to take things to the next level,” he said.
The Radosavacs “did everything together” and often influenced others with their spirit, Zago recalled.
Jasmina worked in spiritual consulting and sold merchandise online, he said. According to the website for Ancestral Witch, she moved to the United States from Macedonia.
Her husband also was a former United Auto Workers official and aspired to be a motivational speaker, Zago said.
“They were really a power couple,” he said. “Steve and Jasmina were just fantastic people. They were so giving and selfless in every way… They always tried to help people and motivate people and teach people to think outside the box and reach bigger and better goals and really strive for achieving the impossible. That’s what they did themselves. They led by example.”
In a Facebook message to members, UAW Local 3000 President Steve Gonzales asked colleagues to remember Steve Radosavac’s “love for life, his loyalty to friends, his Solidarity, his ginormous laugh that filled the room, and most of all his big heart. My friend, my family, my brother! You are always with us! Motivation!”
The pair’s impact led well-wishers to contribute more than $39,000 to the GoFundMe page through Monday evening.
“Rest peaceful my friends. Your zest for life from you two was unmatched,” one donor wrote. “I never got to meet your girls, but can only assume they were just like you. Your youngest is with you now, and your UAW family will never forget you.”
Another contributor posted: “There are no words of comfort for this tragedy. Jasmina was loved by so many, especially me. Mia ,one day when you are able to read all this, know you are not alone and have literally 1000s of people that love you and are here for you if you ever need anything. Im so sorry. My heart, as many others is crushed.”