Community, Red Cross helping displaced families after 3-alarm fire

As families scramble to get back what's left from the apartment fire, Red Cross steps up to provide shelter for families displaced by the fires.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Charlotte father who threw his young daughter out of the third-story window of their burning home says all he could think about was saving her life.

Anselmo Martinez stands with his hand on his four-year-old daughter Chelsea's shoulder.

Early Monday morning, the Martinez family awoke to their home filled with smoke and fire.

"We opened the door and all we could see was the yellow fire outside of the door," Martinez says.

As Martinez ran through back through his home, the fire began spreading into the living room.

"We went into the bedroom and closed the door," Martinez says.

His wife opened the windows and started screaming for help from the people below.

The next thing he knew, his wife was gone.

"She didn't tell me anything, she just jumped," Martinez says.

He looked down and saw his wife was not moving on the ground. Laying on the ground, she began screaming for Martinez to throw their daughter out of the window.

"And so I threw her," he says.

His wife caught Chelsea in her arms, but the girl hit her head on the ground.

A moment later, his wife got up, telling him to jump. He did. They all escaped.

The Martinez family, like many others, lost everything in the fire. Altogether, according to Charlotte Fire investigators, 40 units were impacted, 130 people displaced.

Many of the families were already struggling to make ends meet.

The Red Cross stepped in, turning Albemarle Middle School into a temporary shelter where cots and cribs lined the room.

Organizations and community members across town have been dropping off donations for the families.

One of those donations, a pink stroller and baby doll. Chelsea held tightly to that stroller, a lollipop in mouth, two more as backup in her hand.

"She wasn't afraid," Martinez says. "She told me she thought she was flying like Wonder Woman."

Martinez, not afraid either, even with so much of the future unknown.

His wife was being released from the hospital on Tuesday afternoon. To him, nothing else matters.

"I feel happy because I am with my wife and my daughter," Martinez says, still holding onto his little girl. "Thanks to God that's all I need."

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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