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Neighbors, Organizations Help House Fire Victim

August 29, 2013, 5:03 PM by Brady Mallory

Neighbors, Organizations Help House Fire Victim

A Sioux Falls man is learning the importance of community, after losing his house to a fire. Kerry Hanks was inside his central Sioux Falls home when the fire started early Sunday morning at the corner of East 8th Street and Franklin Avenue.

"I'll be in an apartment tonight," Kerry Hanks said, standing outside of what is now an burned, and empty shell of a house.

A charred couch, chair, bookcase - pretty much everything sits outside; making it hard for Hanks to even look at his front yard.

"At times, I even get emotional and break down," Hanks said.

He has found many reasons to stay positive. The fire took everything he owns, but many people are lending him their support.

"Two doors down. Two doors down there. This house over here," Hanks said, pointing to the various homeowners who have helped him get back on his feet.

Hanks said neighbors will drive him to work, offered him food, and have even given him clothes.

"Got a lady that runs a rummage sale down the road," Hanks said. "When I left the house that night, all I had was jeans on. I didn't even have shoes on or anything else. She came over, comforted me for a bit, ran back to her house and brought me shoes and a shirt."

Several organizations including the Salvation Army, Good Will and Red Cross have stepped up to give him money and offer him places to stay. Investigators are still figuring out what started the fire, which Hanks says was way too close for comfort. A friend who was staying with Hanks woke up him up as the fire was spreading. Hanks, who was on the couch, was able to make it out of his front door.

"I looked behind me and there's a ball of fire this size behind my head. Not even a foot away. Within three minutes, it was shooting out of the windows and doors," Hanks said.

Hanks made it out without any injuries, but said his friend has a few minor burns. Hanks is thankful the situation was not worse.

"Everything here can be replaced. Everything," Hanks said.

It may be hard to look at these charred remains, but Hanks sees no reason to give up.

"I've got a place over my head.  I've still got work, so I just continue on," Hanks said.

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