MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minneapolis family doesn’t know where to celebrate Christmas after their house was destroyed by a fire Monday morning.
No one was seriously hurt, but the home was a near total loss. There were huge flames near Girard Avenue North and 24th Street, and the freezing weather made it more difficult.
A large family of three children and four adults called the house a home. They won’t be able to salvage much inside, if anything. That includes presents and toys already wrapped for the kids.
“It went so fast. The whole kitchen was on fire,” said Chiquite Hudson, who was staying at the house. “I woke up and freaked out.”
Fire crews responded to the scene at about 7 a.m. The flames were so intense at first that fire fighters couldn’t go inside, and had to attack from above.
“I couldn’t go downstairs. The smoke hit my face so I jumped out my window, the closest window I saw, I had to jump out,” said resident Dorice Jackson.
It took more than an hour to get it under control.
As the fire and smoke started to settle, the realization of what was lost began to set in.
“The material stuff — my purse, my wallet, my baby’s Christmas money — everything is in there,” said Hudson. “I don’t how she’s going to have a Christmas now, but I’m glad I can still see here after this day.”
One person was injured: a young woman who needed medical help because of the smoke. It is a Christmas Eve disaster for the family, but they feel lucky to still have each other.
“We got Christmas because we have each other. That’s all that matters. My family could’ve been gone, my whole family. I mean we could’ve been going to funerals,” said Melissa Law. “So we got Christmas and that’s all that makes a difference.”
Investigators are still looking into how the fire started. The Red Cross showed up right away to help with the immediate necessities, such as warm clothes.
It was a busy night for the Red Cross, as it turned out. They’re helping seven others after two more fires in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
A fire in St. Paul broke out early Monday morning in a home along West Van Buren Avenue. The Red Cross is helping two adults get clothing and a place to stay.
And five more people — three adults and two kids — are getting assistance after a fire spread through their Northeast Minneapolis apartment.