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Two families recovering from fire that destroyed everything before the holidays

Posted at 5:45 PM, Dec 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-22 19:24:42-05

HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. — Five days before Christmas, two families are left with nothing.

A fire destroyed everything in their home from Christmas gifts to clothing, even taking the life of a dog and two cats.

“Everything is like — it’s just burnt," said Brandon Harris, who lived in one of the apartments.

Harris and Lamont Stokes were both asleep in their apartments. Around 4:30 in the morning, Harris’ wife woke him up for work.

“She was like, I think I smell smoke, I was like what do you mean, and she was like I think the room is smoking," said Harris.

From there, things happened quickly, though Harris was able to get his wife and kids out alive.

Next door, Stokes woke up to take his medicine and could tell something was off.

“The next thing I know, I hear scurrying, like dogs scratching at the door and as all this is going on my neighbor is beating on my door saying if you guys don’t get out you guys are going to be in a fire and it’s going to be in about five minutes," said Stokes.

Stokes, his girlfriend and step daughter got out safe, but lost everything.

“Only thing I'm left with is our lives and pretty much the clothes on our backs," said Stokes.

With the fire taking everything just days before the holiday, both families are relying on the generosity of others.

“I got a couple friends that are trying to do everything they can, as you guys know the holidays are very tight for everyone, but everyone’s trying to put something together," said Stokes.

For Harris and his family the outpouring of support has shown him a brighter side of the tragedy.

“I’m just so blessed like I’m so blessed to be talking to you all right now because five more minutes of sleep could’ve been the end of everything," said Harris.

The community has contributed to both GoFundMe’s and donations of clothing, food and christmas gifts are getting them through the days.

Currently, they’re both at a hotel.

The next step for both families is to find a permanent home.