DETROIT (WXYZ) — It was a heartbreaking Thanksgiving holiday for one Detroit family who lost everything in a house fire.
Natalie Hale and her six children have been living on Stahelin Avenue in Detroit for just under five months when the unimaginable happened.
"We had just ate. We didn’t even make it to dessert," Hale said.
Around 9 p.m. on the holiday, Hale had fallen asleep after dinner because of a night shift she was scheduled to work later at Villa at Great Lakes Crossing, a nursing home in Detroit. 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 said. "Then you start seeing the walls turning black and you saw the smoke and I’m saying, 'Oh my God.”
With food still on the table and no coats, Hale evacuated all her children and fiance from the home. She could only watch as her home continued burning. Hale says Detroit firefighters quickly arrived on scene and told her the cause of the fire looked to be a faulty electrical wire.
All her children's clothes, toys and belongings were gone.
“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," Hale said through tears.
Her former coworker and friend Elizabeth Anderson has been by Hale's side since the incident and has been helping collect donations, knowing this could’ve happened to anyone.
"We’re all just one fire away, one paycheck away, one sickness away from being her," Anderson said.
Hale and her family have been living in a hotel provided by the American Red Cross since the fire, but as of Thursday has been asked to leave according to Anderson. Hale hopes to find permanent shelter soon. However, on this Thanksgiving, she says she’s most thankful for one thing: her life.
"It's testimony for sure that I survived," she said. "I could’ve definitely been out here saying a different story.”