SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s been one week since a fire at a central Sioux Falls duplex left a father and his six kids without a home. An incredible struggle on its own, but for this family, the fire was the second major tragedy this year.
“It did hurt at first, it was everything that I’ve ever worked for and it was just gone,” Sioux Falls dad Micah Brave said
Brave moved into the bottom floor of his Duplex in early 2018.
“I came here with me and my son with just the clothes on my back,” Brave said.
The move was part of his preparation to also take custody of his five nieces and nephews.
“I’ve been living with my uncle since May 2018,” 17-year-old Chris Brave said.
Micah now has six kids living at home right now from age 3 to 17; all but the oldest were home asleep when a fire started in the upstairs apartment last week.
“Yeah it was at like two in the morning,” 6-year-old Vernon Brave said. “We were just wearing our pajamas.”
“It freaked the younger ones out, they were screaming and crying,” Micah said.
While they all made it out safely…
“We just got out, we just left everything,” Micah said.
…the water and smoke damaged or destroyed everything inside.
“Preston and Kaden’s bed collapsed,” Vernon said. “The ceiling came down on top of their bed.”
“For me, it’s mainly just all my clothes,” Chris said. “I’ve been wearing these shorts for a couple of days now.”
Over the past week, people have worked to help the Brave family get some of the essentials.
“A lot of people reached out right away, all the teachers at Whittier, teachers at Terry Redlin reached out…helped us get some clothes for the time being,” Micah said.
“People have been helping a lot and I’m more grateful for the help with them [my siblings], because I can kind of find my own way whereas they need more help than I do,” Chris said.
But it’s a lot of stress for the whole family, especially Chris and her siblings who are still grieving.
“A lot has happened in this last year mainly….our mom passed away in March. Just adding this on top of it is kind of like woah,” Chris said.
It’s why they’re hoping to go through some of their damaged belongings still in the house.
“The thing we would be mainly concerned about would be stuff like the pictures of their mom,” Micah said.
Their family of seven has been living in a hotel room since the fire last week Tuesday, but the good news, they found a new home to rent and will move in Wednesday, once again starting from scratch.
If you’d like to help the family, someone has started a GoFundMe account to help the Brave family.