South Bend Family narrowly escapes burning home

NOW: South Bend Family narrowly escapes burning home

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Candace Young is a single mother of five children. Early Wednesday morning she was upstairs in her house with three of her children on a video chat call when she smelled what she thought was burning plastic. She went downstairs and discovered her house was on fire. She and her children escaped, but not without sacrifices.

"We lost a lot of stuff, but at least we didn't lose each other because things we can replace, but people we can't," Young said.

Young said she lost her children's Christmas gifts, the Christmas tree, clothes, and their new beds all in the fire. The house is now unlivable, but Young said the American Red Cross has been in touch with her to set her and her family up with a place to stay for the time being. Young said she and her children escaped through two windows on the second story.

"When I came back down the stairs the smoke was so thick that we had to go back upstairs," Young said. "So, when we went back upstairs, some of my kids jumped out the front window which is this window right here. They jumped out that window. Then, I had to drop my son out the side window right there, and then, I jumped also."

Young has four daughters and a son. Her seven-year-old and five-year-old daughters were with their dad when the fire broke out. Her 13-year-old and nine-year-old daughters and four-year-old son were with her in the fire. All three escaped unharmed. Young was not so lucky.

"I broke my wrist," Young said. "We had to go to the hospital, but thank God we have good neighbors and friends because if it wasn't for them, we probably would have been dead."

Young said her neighbors called 9-1-1 and have supported her in the immediate aftermath of the fire, offering her money, food and shelter.

"I just think that's life," Young's next-door neighbor Ryan Yazel said. "We have to be neighbors together. If we're not sticking together as a community, we're all lost. This is just what we do."

Yazel said he couldn't believe this happened to Young.

"Candice works so hard to be a mom that takes care of her kids, to just be strong," Yazel said. "To have something tragic and unpredictable like this happen is just horrible."

Yazel said the neighborhood association is raising money to help Young and her family recover from this fire. The fundraiser was set up online Wednesday afternoon. Organizers said in order for the money to go to Young and her family, donors need to add a note that either says the donation is for fire relief or the family on Leland. Meanwhile, Young said her sole focus is now on making Christmas special for her children.

"Since we don't have anything right now, I wish that we could just get a nice hotel room so that I can cook for them a traditional meal for my kids, and we just have each other," Young said. "We love each other."

As of this publishing, the South Bend Fire Department was still investigating the cause of the fire.

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