NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A mother and her five children are among those who were displaced after a fire tore through their New Bedford apartment building Tuesday morning.
The fire started around 11 a.m. at the home on Roosevelt Avenue. Jasmine Johnson said a space heater inside her apartment is to blame.
“Those space heaters are no good at all. Keep everything away from them,” Johnson said. “I was just happy my kids and I weren’t there. That was the number one thing.”
Johnson’s children were at school and she was down the street visiting with her children’s father when they fire started.
She said it spread from her second floor apartment to the first floor, where luckily no one was home. The fire also eventually spread to the third floor, where the residents called 911.
“I saw the fire, police, ambulance [going] down the street, so I called my neighbor and she was like, ‘they’re in front of your house, there’s a fire,'” Johnson recalled. “There was a space heater in my apartment that I guess something … I’m not sure 100% what happened, but it had something to do with that, and there was a hole burned under it.”
While no one was injured, almost everything inside all three apartments were destroyed.
“All the furniture is black, all done, over with,” she said. “I just have my baby’s crib. All his new stuff … it’s all gone.”
Johnson said she lost most of her belongings aside from important documents like her children’s Social Security cards and birth certificates.
“[I’ve] basically got to start all over from scratch to get everything back,” she said.
Just in the last day, Johnson said the community has stepped in to help. Johnson said her daughter’s school donated necessities and the principal even hand delivered them.
“They got [my kids] clothes … they’re going to help me with formula and diapers for the baby,” Johnson said. “They’ve been a big help. They gave clothes and gave them a few toys. So, I definitely thank them for that.”
Even though this happened right before the holidays, Johnson is remaining optimistic and reminding herself that it could’ve been much worse.
“I obviously can’t have the [holiday] I wanted, but I’m still alive, so that’s a blessing,” she said.
Johnson’s sister created a GoFundMe page to help her get back on her feet.