A friend of the Conejo family has set up an account to help them after a fire destroyed their home on Second Ave. two days after Christmas. Two members of the family, 51-year-old Luz Maria Conejo and her young grandson Pablo Antonio Coca-Conejo, were killed in the fire.
"My daughter Starla is close to the family. Their house was her home away from home," Cynthia Vega said.
Vega began reaching out to local busineses and organizations this week in an effort to help Claudio Conejo and his four daughters, Diana, 23, Patrica, 21, Kathy, 17, and 14-year-old Claudia.
An account has been established at the Dodge City Credit Union under the name "Conejo Family donations." Monetary donations can be made at all Dodge City Credit Union locations as well as the branch in Cimarron.
In addition to that account, monetary donations are also being accepted at the customer service desk in the Dillons on Fourteenth Ave. Luz Conejo was a former employee in the deli department of the store.
Donations of household items can be taken to the Frontier Kia location at 10868 West Wyatt Earp Blvd. A representative from Frontier Kia said the Conejo's still need furniture, appliances and household items like dishes. They are also in need of more men's clothing. All of the donated items will be stored at the Days Inn until the family has a place to keep them.
"They are all out of a home, and they all lost everything," Vega said. "The community really needs to help them. They are grieving terribly."
She described the family as caring, generous people and longime members of the Dodge community. Vega said the four remaining family members are staying with extended family in Garden City.
"They're such a close knit family," Vega said. "They're the kind of family everyone should have."
Diana Conejo spoke briefly with the Globe on Thursday. She said her two youngest sisters will soon be starting school in Garden City and her father plans to communte to his job at Cargill in Dodge City. Her sister Patricia, whose two-year-old son Pablo Antonio was killed in the fire, will also commute to Cargill once she is ready to go back to work, Conejo said.
The Dodge City Fire Department (DCFD) is still investigating the cause of the fire. Captain Ken Spencer with the DCFD said investigators have determined the fire was electrical but have yet to find the exact cause.