Families looking to salvage items just days before Christmas after apartment fire

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Families staying strong after apartment fire in southeast Houston, Christine Dobbyn reports.

Two single moms are among residents trying to stay strong for their children after a fire destroyed their home.

Just days ago, the Woodard children were decorating the tree and preparing for Christmas. But after Sunday night, there isn't much left.

"I hear 'Fire, fire!' and I started smelling smoke. I look out my balcony and I just see flames coming," Akela Woodard said.

She is trying to put on a smile for her children.

"It's like, as a single mother, I work hard and nickel and dime to provide for my children," she said.

Residents say when they returned to try and see if they could recover anything from their homes at the Reserve at Windmill Lakes, the locks had been changed. Now, they say they are waiting to see if they can get inside.

ABC13 contacted the apartment management to try and get an answer for them.

"I don't want them to just throw my daughter's pictures out on the road for anyone to pick it up," said Woodard.

Isabel Medina is also a single mom who got out safely with her two children. She only has the military dog tags from her father around her neck. The family dog was also rescued by firefighters.

The victims say a man was banging on every door and making sure they got out.

"We didn't smell anything, see anything, we would like to know who the guy was," Courtney Williams said. "Whoever you are, if you came to our rescue that night we thank you so much."

They credit the good Samaritan for saving so many lives.

"I don't want you guys to know that grown-ups cry, too. We have to be strong," Medina said.

They may be scraping to try and put a Christmas together for their children, but they are determined to stay strong.

"We have to lead by example. We have to speak positively," said Medina.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for two of the families. You can help the Woodard's and the Medina's on their separate pages.
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apartment firechristmasHouston
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