Family picks up pieces after losing home to New Year's Eve fire

A Santa Rosa family is picking up the pieces after a fire tears through their home.

Four of them, including two children, were inside the home when the fire started.

"Panic, tripping out, saw it and was like oh snap," said resident Jose Benavides.

Benavides is still in shock.

He's lived in this home on Myers Lane for the last 4 years.

He said his family lost everything; the only things they have left are the clothes on their backs.

Benavides says his little sister woke him up Tuesday afternoon around 3 p.m.

"She started hearing all these popping noises and said, 'Hey there's a fire outside.'"

Benavides said all four family members home, his little sister, brother, and pregnant sister-in-law, tried to get out of the smoke-filled home as quickly as possible.

He said his parents were out trying to buy food in preparation for New Years Eve and he instinctly tried to put out the flames himself.

"I was like oh snap and grabbed the water hose," said Benavides, "We we're out here doing everything we could until the fire department got here and after a little bit, it was too much. I was there trying to throw buckets to see if I could turn it off; the smoke was too much," said Benavides.

Benavides said by the time firefighters finally showed up, the home was already engulfed.

"They would run out of water and then they would leave and come back. It's like we're just watching our house burn [and] not being able to do nothing about it," said Benavides, "It's been difficult. I still try to wake up and think it's a dream [like] it didn't really happen, but it did," he said.

We brought the family's concerns to the Santa Rosa Fire Department and a firefighter on duty told us it is a volunteer-based department and they do their best to respond to calls as quickly as possible.

The Red Cross is stepping in to temporarily assist the family, who is staying with a relative.

If you would like to help the Benavides family you can call the homeowners Juana and Juan Benavides at 577-1143 and 742-3705.

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