Fire displaces Milwaukee family, community stepping up to help

A Milwaukee family is trying to get back on their feet after a fire last month left their home uninhabitable.

"You go to sleep at night, and it’s a little bit harder to sleep because you get woken up at 4 a.m. one morning from a fire," said Caitlin Knueppel.

On May 17, Knueppel, her fiancé and their 5-month-old daughter were asleep when the fire started. She woke up to the sound of her daughter crying from another room.

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"There was a burning smell and smoke that was filling into the room," she said. "I woke her dad up next to me, he peeked right out our back bedroom window, and noticed that our entire back porch was on fire before it came shooting into the door."

Flames spread quickly through the upstairs of their home near 79th and Fairview. While the three got out safely, all their belongings and memories inside were destroyed.

Caitlin Knueppel, fiancé and their 5-month-old daughter

"A lot of times you live in an apartment waiting to move somewhere to find a home, like a permanent home. But, that place actually felt like home, and now it’s just gone," said Knueppel.

The family is staying with relatives now as they try to rebuild their lives from the ground up.

"Her crib, her pack and play, her dresser, her loveseat, her books from her baby shower, her toys, her bath – everything, all those, gone," Knueppel said.

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The community is trying to ease some of those financial burdens, raising money through an Angel Link

"We’re keeping our heads up with all the support around us," said Knueppel. "It sucks, but as long as my daughter is still here, I am OK."

So far, the Angel Link has raised more than $2,000.