STOCKTON -- More than a dozen people were displaced after a fourplex in Downtown Stockton goes up in flames with families inside.
“It started out back in the back of our apartment on the balcony and my son was watching TV and he heard the glass was breaking in our dining room and he saw the flames and ran to his sister and they ran outside,” said Vanessa Garcia.
The fire sparked on the 200 block of North Aurora Street just before 6 p.m. on Friday.
Garcia says she rushed home after getting a frantic call from her 13-year-old daughter.
“My daughter didn't even get to grab any shoes you know, she was barefoot in the street. I'm just thankful that they were fine, and they were able to see it because none of the fire alarms went off nothing went off,” Garcia explained. “So, had they been asleep or something they probably wouldn't even be here.”
They, along with everyone else made it out safely but the family says their pet cat died in the fire.
Stockton firefighters worked to put out the flames but hours later the fire rekindled. They were able to contain it to just one unit.
“Our apartment burned the worst. So, everything we had is gone, we don’t have anything,” Garcia stated.
Garcia says her family is devastated.
“It's not the material things. It's just the fact that their home, the place that they were comfortable at, is gone. Like material things I can build up over time but it's like our home is gone, you know,” Garcia expressed.
Garcia says they had just moved in six months ago.
“We were just getting adjusted. We were just fixing it up you know, trying to make it our own you know. It wasn't the best place, but it was ours,” she said.
And now the single mother and her four kids under the age of 13 are displaced, staying with friends and family for now.
“Finally, to be able to give my kids some stability you know and now we're having to start over,” Garcia said.
The family has started a GoFundMe page and now they're relying on their faith and the kindness of strangers to help them through this difficult time.
“I just kind of keep telling myself that God has something better for us. You know and that's what I’m living by right now,” Garcia said.
The Stockton Fire Department says the cause of the fire is still under investigation.