Candles, tears and hope for survivor of Eastpointe fire
Leonard Black provides a takeaway from the fire that took the lives of his in-laws. Robin Buckson, The Detroit News
Eastpointe — Standing outside the home where a fire recently claimed the lives of two parents and their 13-year-old daughter, Nikki Bezaire was overwhelmed with emotion.
She long had known Steve and Jasmina Radosavac, and loved to see their entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to helping others and love for their family.
Thinking of the couple gone, along with their daughter, moved her to tears Tuesday night.
“They touched a lot of lives,” Bezaire said, wearing a shirt emblazoned with Steve Radosavac’s catchphrase: “Motivation Baby!” “They were great people.”
She and more than 50 mourners gathered for a candlelight vigil at the site of the fire on Nevada.
Anja Radosavac died Monday at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, relatives said.
Throughout the vigil, loved ones asked the community to rally around the sole survivor, Anja's 16-year-old sister, Mia Radosavac.
“The dynamics of the family doesn’t exist anymore,” said Leonard Black, Steve Radosavac’s brother-in-law. “I cannot even fathom that.”
Gathered near singed remains of the family’s two-story home, many vigil attendees struggled to comprehend the loss while sharing their memories and clutching candles near bouquets of flowers laid on the front steps.
Anja was remembered as a talented artist who doted on her cousins.
“They were all best friends,” said Natasha Radosavac, Steve Radosavac’s sister. “They called each every day, talked on live video every day.”
Black described the grief learning he had lost his in-laws, a spiritual counselor and longtime autoworker sometimes called “Bigdog,” and a creative niece with unfailing graciousness.
But he also noted how the weight of the tragedy served as a reminder: “Hug your loved ones. Love your family. Love your friends. Love your neighbors. You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
Others thanked the public for their outpouring of support.
“There are have been so many great random acts of kindness,” Joey Zago, a longtime family friend and godfather to the Radosavac girls.
Investigators continue probing the cause of the Saturday blaze. Information was expected to be released later this week, said George Rouhib Jr., Eastpointe public safety director.
As authorities work the case and relatives plan a funeral, supporters are working to raise money through GoFundMe to help Mia. Nearly 1,000 donors had contributed more than $64,000 of a $100,000 goal by late Tuesday.
On Tuesday, after a moment of silence, dozens lingered on the lawn as candles flickered in the darkness.
Among them was Michael Gallagher, a neighbor who spotted Mia Radosavac crying for help after the fire and tried to rescue her family. He hoped his presence, along with so many strangers, would signal the community's embrace of the teen.
“It’s very important,” he said. “She needs everything.”
That backing "gives us so much comfort with the pain," Black said. "It gives you support that you need to stand up instead of falling down."
Visitation for the family is scheduled for 3-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at E.J. Mandziuk & Son Funeral Directors, 3801 18 Mile Road, Sterling Heights. A funeral service is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the city's Nativity of the Virgin Mary Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral, 43123 Ryan Road. Burial follows at Guardian Angel Cemetery in Rochester.