Family left homeless on Christmas Eve

December 25, 2008 9:41:01 PM PST
A Christmas tree fire displaced a woman and her two children from their home on Christmas Eve, according to the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety.

Your heart will go out to a North Bay family on this Christmas day. They lost everything in an early morning fire.

That fire began in the fireplace and somehow spread to their Christmas tree. It was heart-breaking to meet with them today: a single mom with a young son and a baby who lost it all.

The only bright spot: it could have been worse.

A Christmas tragedy for one North Bay family when very early morning fire spreads from their fireplace to their Christmas tree. Despite efforts by many of their neighbors they lost almost everything.

"I'm just thankful that we're okay and my kids are okay," said fire victim Maudie Madriz.

Madriz is trying to keep her head up this holiday. The fire began in her Christmas tree.

The presents are gone now. It is a lot for Maudie's 6-year-old son Ivan to understand.

"I just opened my eyes and I saw that the living room was orange and there was smoke on the ceilings and I just grabbed the kids and ran out the front door," said Madriz.

And when she got outside, she found Michael Nolen spraying her home with a hose. They're normally separated by a fence.

"I just grabbed it and pulled it apart," said Nolen.

"Like adrenaline," said ABC7's Anne Makovec.

"Yeah," said Nolen.

"I started pulling out the vehicles because we didn't need any more danger with the gasoline," said neighbor Gabriel Rivera.

Then he grabbed a hose, too.

"Our fire rig showed up and finished the process but a lot of it was put out by the neighbors before we got here," said Rohnert Park Fire Marshall Dan Adam.

But it was too late to save just about everything the family owns.

Ironically, one of the few things survived this fire is a stack of bills and Maudie doesn't have any insurance.

"I don't know what's going to happen right now, it's kind of scary," said Madriz.

The fire department gave the family a bag of toys, the only bit of Christmas left.

"When it actually happens to you, stuff you see on TV, it's scary," said Madriz.

The Red Cross is paying for the family to stay in a motel.


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