Dec 22, 2011 11:07 PM by Shawn Kline

Families hold strong through holiday fire

Most families don't expect something like this to happen to them: just days before Christmas, a fire rips through your home or apartment leaving you asking, what's next?

Six Lafayette families, all with children, living at Himbola Manor on MLK Jr. Dr. were some of those people who didn't expect to be asking that question but Thursday night, they were.

Lafayette Firefighters say an afternoon blaze, started by a candle set too close to a mattress, temporarily displaced those six families.

"At least we're alive!" Tennill Savoy said.

Savoy's apartment received a heavy dose of smoke damage but was left relatively untouched by the fire, which began on a lower floor.

"As a single parent, you're trying to work and keep everything in order and now, it's a set back."

As many as three of the six families were allowed to re-enter their apartments, suffering minor smoke and electrical damage. For the others, the damage took more of a toll.

"Everything I put into this, it's gone, it's lost." David Lewis says, "Christmas is this Sunday, and now the children don't have nothing right now."

Firefighters say the blaze began in Lewis' apartment. No one was injured, but the damage is estimated in the thousands.

Lewis did manage to save a few toys from under the tree for his nine-year-old boy and five-year-old girl: a new bicycle and a plastic toy-bowling set.

That's all he could save, but he says the toys, the apartment, the clothes; those are replaceable. 

"Thank the lord I'll be able to see (the children) this Christmas and all the other Christmases and so-on and so-on."


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