Duplex fire leaves Fla. City families homeless
FLORIDA CITY, Fla. (WSVN) -- Two Florida City families are without a home after a fire ripped through a duplex they were living in.
Most of their possessions rendered unrecognizable, home owners Siara Smith and Charles Harden were nearly speechless as they scoured through the remains of what used to be their residence. "There aren't too many words left to express how I feel right now," said owner Charles Harden.
Smith said she accidentally left the stove on in the kitchen and the fire spread through the entire house in a matter of seconds. "It was an accident but everything is gone," said Annette Blunt.
Blunt and her young daughter, Rykiria Davis, live in other unit of the duplex. Their place was also destroyed in the fire. Blunt said her daughter is shocked that all the holiday gifts are gone. "Her Christmas presents and stuff, like she was devastated," said Blunt. "I'm happy we have our lives but the look on her face just made it feel even worse."
A neighbor's Christmas tree was visible through a large hole where a wall once stood. "We're hoping for the best," said Smith. "We don't have much left, but God will lead the way," added the mother of three school-age children, one boy and two girls.
One of Harden and Smith's daughters, who was supposed to be grounded in her room for misbehaving at school, was allowed to go outside to play with her siblings right before the fire started. It was a last-minute decision that could have saved her life. "I let her go outside," Smith said, "because everyone is bad at school every now and then."
For Harden, Smith and their children, this Christmas will not be about presents under the tree but about the presence of their child. "I'm grateful to God that we're still here," said Harden. "That's all that matters."
The duplex has been boarded up, and the two families have been receiving assistance from the American Red Cross for the past few days. They will now have to rely on family and friends.
(Copyright 2012 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)