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Family starts to rebuild after Benton Harbor fire

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – A Benton Harbor mother is crediting her 12-year-old daughter for saving her 9-year-old sister after an early morning fire off of Red Arrow Highway earlier this week. Escaping the blaze with the clothes on their back.

“My daughter was outside in her underwear and a blanket. She got her little sister out. She was just in shorts and t-shirt sleeping.” Jessica Reyna said.

A friend who rents out the basement helped Reyna’s husband escape.

“He got his daughter, put her in his car and was banging on the wall to wake up my husband.” She explained.

Reyna works nights and says it was around 1:30am when she got a call that her house was on fire. When she got home, she realized how bad it was.

Their house is a total loss. Reyna says a wood burner in the garage caused the fire. Friday night, most of the belongings are in a pile in the yard, still smoldering. The unsalvageable items include clothes, toys, Christmas gifts, baby pictures and arts and crafts the children made.

“All those little things like that, that’s just gone now.” Reyna said.

They also lost a dog and a cat in the fire. Reyna says her kids’ school donated clothes and they’re currently living with her mother-in-law. The goal now is to raise money for a new house.

“I want to rebuild.” She said.

The house was owned outright and Reyna says they didn’t have insurance. Family have started an online fundraiser to help them rebuild.

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