Families lose everything after store, apartments gutted by fire - WNEM TV 5

Families lose everything after store, apartments gutted by fire

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CARO, MI (WNEM) -

A Mid-Michigan store with apartments above it was gutted over the weekend by fire.

"We're just sitting out in the living room and they started bolting out the place is on fire and all this smoke was coming through their bed room vents,” Elizabeth Leitzel said.

The people who live above “Kids Closet” in Caro were planning for the holidays. Now, they are planning to rebuild their lives.

"Officers at the scene and the firemen said that due to the smoke nothing is really going to be salvageable because food wise, clothing wise, furniture. So, we pretty much have to start all over again,” Shannon Shoup said.

Around 11 p.m. Friday night the store below the Shoup’s apartment caught on fire.

The flames were contained to the bottom floor, but thanks to the smoke, the three families that live in the upstairs apartments have lost nearly everything they own just two weeks before Christmas.

"The worst part about that is that is where we hid all of Santa's gifts in our room and that's what got it the worst because that's where it started,” Shoup said.

When the fire broke out, the smoke traveled and filled the upstairs apartments. Now, the residents who lived inside can't even get their belongings.

They're destroyed.

Now, they're left wondering what they'll do next.

Shoup and her family are staying with her brother in Vassar. Her loved ones and her purse is all she has after the fire.

She and other residents are hoping they can walk away with something.

“A lot of stuff has smoke damage. We're gonna have to get rid of a lot of stuff because of the chemical smell on it, our mattresses and everything,” Leitzel said.

“I'm praying to God that I will be able to at least salvage my children's pictures and stuff like that,” Shoup said.

The Shoup family has set up a GoFundMe account to help them get back on their feet. 

To help the family, click here

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. 

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