A family of seven is homeless after fire destroyed their house on Lewis Avenue in Bessemer early Thursday morning. Luckily no one was hurt, but everything they owned is now gone.
John Kiel and his cousin, Howard, were the only ones home when the fire started around 2 a.m.
"It was cold in the house so we got a kerosene heater and my father showed me how to work it plenty of times so I knew what I was doing," John Kiel said.
"When I checked on it the fire was coming up right in front of the fireplace, so it caught fire to the fireplace so I tried to put it out, tried to use salt, but the firemen said I didn't have the tools to put it out."
After Kiel and his cousin escaped, all they could do was watch the home burn.
"Just save my house for my family, that's all we got. We don't got nothing for real, just save my house, that's all," said Kiel.
Firefighters did what they could, but the home is a total loss. It took them hours to extinguish the blaze.
American Red Cross volunteer, Earnest Long, was at the scene Thursday assessing the damage and providing help.
"If he doesn't have a place to stay we try to put them up in a hotel for a day or two then they go down to the Red Cross and see the case workers. They have referral lists that can help them," said Long.
Kiel says the hotel will help, but now his Christmas wish is finding a more permanent home.
"My priority is probably just another place to stay. We can get clothes, everything else [is] replaceable. God blessed us, at least I'm still alive. Hopefully we can come up with everything else."
Kiel's mom, dad, three younger brothers, and nephew were not home when the fire started. They were visiting family members in Georgia for Christmas.
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1720 Valley View Drive