A family of seven is starting the New Year without a home after a fire broke out in the attic of their house minutes before midnight at 28th Street and Bell Road in Phoenix.
“It was crazy because it was a moment. The flames started coming out of the house,” homeowner Norma Martinez.
“Our reaction was just—run,” she said.
Shortly after that, the lights went out, creating terrifying moments for the family.
“I start knocking [on] their door. They're screaming."
As smoke filled the house, they tried to get out.
"We crashed [into] each other because it was so dark inside,” Martinez said.
Martinez said she and her family ran out of their home when they smelled smoke, and when neighbors saw a wall of flames they tried to help.
"We came out and tried to get the hose to put it out,” said Nicole Gridley, who was visiting family next door.
For this family, 2016 begins without the home they've lived in for 18 years. Just three months ago, they finished paying it off. But they're counting their blessings because they are safe.
"Sometimes doors close, but God opens another. Sometimes we don't understand how God works,” Martinez said.
The family said they will be staying with other family members. Neighbors and the American Red Cross have also been providing assistance.