Next step for those who lost everything

By Amanda Porterfield |, Erica Quednau |

Published 03/28 2014 11:45AM

Updated 03/31 2014 01:19PM

Latest: 11:36 pm, 3/28/14, Friday
HOOPESTON -- Their home has been reduced to rubble after a fire, but the people who lived here owe their livest to the quick thinking of a caring neighbor. The cause of a fire is still under investigation. It happened Thursday and took hours to put out. WCIA-3's Amanda Porterfield tells us how the residents are putting their lives back together.

"It's gone. Everything is gone. It's all gone. I've lost so many things; trophies that me and my dad got when I was a little girl. I wish I could get them back. They are memories I can never get back."

But, it's because of her dad that she and the rest of the people who used to live here have their lives.

"He's the one that warned me. I was taking a shower and he come down and told me the house was on fire. I thought he was joking with me until I seen the smoke in the house. And I said, "Aww, man, the house is on fire.' I grabbed my little extinguisher and tried to put it out, but it was just too much."

It started in the garage, but in minutes, high winds helped turn several stories into ash.

"They tried their best. The wind picked up. There really wasn't much we could do except try to work from the top down."

"If it hadn't been for this man, I would probably be part of the ashes in that apartment. I think him for my life."

"I don't think of me as being no hero. I think of him being one of the best friends I have ever had."

With every piece of the past they find, these families realize all they have left is each other.

"I was looking for the baby book. It's the only thing we got left of it. Years, gone. I found a picture of my grandson. Look there. Isn't that so awesome?"

"We don't know what we're going to do. We're not from around here."

"All we need is help."

"We just need help from anybody."

"I just thank God that nobody got hurt and I just hope people can look our way. Maybe a little bit of help. Prayers is all I am asking for."

The cause is still under investigation, but it could have started from a hot water heater or space heater.
Update: 4:01 pm, 3/28/14, Friday
HOOPESTON -- Three families are counting their blessings after a house caught fire Thursday. The owner lived in the basement and the rest of the house was divided into apartments.

The owner was in the shower at the time the fire broke out. A tenant came down to tell him the house was on fire. Everyone got out safely, including pets.

The State Fire Marshal was on the scene Friday. A cause hasn't been determined.
Original: 5:33 pm, 3/27/14, Thursday
HOOPESTON -- A home, in the 700-block of South Fifth Street, caught fire Thursday afternoon. Flames could be seen coming out of the windows. Smoke filled the neighborhood. No one was hurt. It took crews more than three hours to put out the fire. No word on a cause or damage estimate.

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