FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The family and friends of a man killed in a house fire on Wednesday night gathered for a candlelight vigil in front of the home.

Authorities say 26-year-old Calvin Rodriguez was killed in a fire just after midnight on Wednesday near Thorne and Dennett avenues in the Tower District.

On Friday, the family got together at that same home to remember the young life they said touched so many hearts, as well as the neighbor they call a hero.

It was a show of support that Calvin’s father, Robert Rodriguez, said he was not expecting. 

“Kind of restores your faith in humanity, I’m very grateful for the public and everyone,” said Robert.

He and his family said they are forever thankful. 

“Going to be really hard for me not to see my little brother anymore. I don’t want to accept it but I have to accept it,” said Bobby, Calvin’s brother.

“He was just so sweet and innocent it’s hard to have to do this without him here today,” explained Athena Depue, Calvin’s sister.

During the vigil, the family also said thank you to a neighbor, who jumped into action when the fire broke out.

“I tried everything I could, I stayed in there as long as I could and I couldn’t do it anymore,” recalled Phil Wallace, who lives behind the Rodriguez family.

“I heard somebody screaming and yelling and I said, ‘that sounds like Calvin, or Robert, one or the other,’” added Wallace.

He said he won’t ever forget the night he lost his neighbor. 

Photos of Calvin Rodriguez and his loved ones were on display at the candlelight vigil.

“I had a hard time trying to get over the fence, so I knocked the whole fence down,” Wallace explained.

Wallace was able to get Robert and his wife out of the house but sadly, he said he could no longer breathe through the thick smoke.   

“Then I ran in there and tried to get Calvin and I hollered, and hollered, and hollered for him. I went to this backroom, and then the middle room, and then the side room, and then the smoke got so full that I couldn’t breathe and I was about ready to pass out. So, I had to come back out here there was nothing I could do,” said Wallace. The family said it considers Wallace a hero.

A GoFundMe has been set up for the victim’s family to help with funeral expenses and home repair.