CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A hard working family lost everything they owned within minutes, after a fire ripped through their West 45th Street home on Monday.
The couple lived in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood with their three small children. Now, they’re trying to figure out how to get through the holidays and where to go next.
The family has set up a fundraising page on Facebook.
“It looked like the Fourth of July,” Ashley Riddle said as she stared at her now-scorched home. “It was in flames and sparking.”
Riddle had spent the day putting up her Christmas tree with her kids, but that night she couldn’t sleep. So, she was up at 5 a.m. watching TV on the couch, when all of the sudden her dog started barking.
“I got up and I smelled it, and there was a thin layer in the kitchen,” recalled Riddle. “I turned to look into the bathroom and it’s just full of smoke, so I hurry up and woke my husband up and my kids.”
The family of five escaped the fire safely. Riddle’s children are ages 6, 7 and 9.
"Oh my God that's the only thing that keeps me going is I saved my family,” Riddle said. “I got my children out. I don't know what I would've done if I lost them."
All they have now is the clothes on their backs.
"It's pretty bad,” Riddle said as her eyes swelled with tears. “Everything we own is gone. I don't know what else to do."
Riddle says the fire started inside the basement.
"Aw man,” Riddle said. “My heart sank and it just made it even more clear that everything's just gone. Everything that me and my husband worked for and built and tried to create a safe environment for the kids, it's just gone."
Riddle says for now they’re staying in a hotel and bouncing between friends’ houses.
"We're running out of options, running out of resources,” Riddle told 19 News.
Now the mother of three is trying to figure out how to tell her kids Santa probably won't be coming this Christmas.
“The only thing I can think of to tell them, you know, is right now we don’t have a home for Santa to come to.”