OKLAHOMA CITY – A fire at the Heritage Ridge apartment complex left two families to ring in the new year with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Shelibra Cole and her sister-in-law LaKissia Sims left their two boys, ages 5 and 17, alone in the apartment to go celebrate the new year with friends.
Minutes later the fire department called them back.
“I didn’t even pay attention to the apartment, I just ran to where they said [my son] was,” Cole said. “I just hugged him and told him I was sorry.”
Sorry, Cole added, for leaving the apartment on New Year’s Eve.
While the mothers were gone, a candle in the apartment the families share fell over and set some garbage on fire.
The two boys were able to save their new puppy, but nothing else.
“Everything [is gone],” Cole said. “Everything. New clothes, shoes. I had just bought them everything for school.”
Cole said the families also lost their rent money.
Cole’s sister-in-law, LaKissia Sims, said carrying on in 2013 will be difficult for both families.
“I have to go to work tonight and I have – I [only] have this,” Sims said, pointing to her jacket. “I don’t think I can go to work in this.”
The families did not have insurance.
The Red Cross is providing temporary housing and the Heritage Ridge apartment manager is trying to set the families up with another apartment.
Cole and Sims hope the community can step in to help their families.
They’re asking willing donors to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org with donations.