Grieving family learns of father’s death after seeing van on news

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — A grieving family turned to the FOX31 Problem Solvers for answers after a family member was discovered in a burning van.

Fifty-eight-year-old Michael Sandoval was pulled from the vehicle at the intersection of Wesley Avenue and South Lipan Street on April 29. 

Desiree Babb, his daughter, told FOX31 he later died of complications.

Babb said her family was watching news coverage when they noticed the van was the one Sandoval had been living in.

The family said Sandoval had fallen on hard times after the loss of his wife and a work injury. He didn’t want to accept any help from family or friends, but was always willing to help others, they said.

“He was just always a great person, would go out of his way to help anyone,” Babb said.

Although the fire occurred on April 29, Denver Fire officials tell the Problem Solvers the investigation into the actual cause is not yet complete.

The family would like to retrieve any belongings that were not destroyed by the fire. 

“Even if there’s half a burned picture you know that’s all we have,” Babb said.

Fire officials tell FOX31 any belongings are being held as evidence for now, but will eventually be given to the family.

Babb says some social media comments targeting her father’s homelessness have been cruel, insensitive and hurtful.

She told FOX31 she wants everyone to consider that every human being deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.

“He was a grandfather, he was a husband, he was a great man,” she said.

A service for Sandoval will be held next week.

The Denver Fire Department expresses deep condolences to the family.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Most Read

Top Stories

More Home Page Top Stories