Natalie Hale and her six children had been residing on Stahelin Avenue in Detroit for just under five months when tragedy struck.
Natalie, who was scheduled for a night shift at the Villa at Great Lakes Crossing nursing home, had fallen asleep when her children woke her up due to strange sounds and the smell of smoke.
“I heard it first. The walls, it was like a sizzling noise that came through the walls,” Hale recounted. “Then you start seeing the walls turning black and you saw the smoke, and I’m saying, ‘Oh my God.’”
Despite the imminent danger, Natalie managed to evacuate her children and fiancé from the house, watching helplessly as their home continued to burn. Detroit firefighters promptly responded to the scene and indicated that a faulty electrical wire appeared to be the cause of the fire.
The fire consumed all the children’s clothes, toys, and personal belongings, leaving the family with nothing.
“It’s like you get on your good foot and you think you’re going for it, a step up, and then something happens, and you just get knocked all the way down,” expressed Hale, tears streaming down her face.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Elizabeth Anderson, a former coworker and friend of Natalie, has been offering support by collecting donations for the family. Anderson told WXYZ TV Detriot that the incident serves as a stark reminder that anyone could face such a crisis.
“We’re all just one fire away, one paycheck away, one sickness away from being her,” said Anderson.
Since the fire, Hale and her family have been temporarily sheltered in a hotel provided by the American Red Cross.