Milwaukee family in need following fire

CREATED May 26, 2014

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MILWAUKEE -- A mother and her kids are struggling to move forward after a devastating fire. The apartment fire happened at 19th and Atkinson last Thursday. Now, the family has no place to call home. They’ve loaded up everything they own in a borrowed car.

"It’s a little bit scary, to look at my kids, and they don't have a clue about anything that's going on. I’m just kind of being brave and strong for them," explains Tameka Washington.

The items in the bags they’re carrying aren't much. But to Tameka and her four girls, they're everything.

They can never return to the apartment. Each room is filled with debris. The walls and ceilings have holes. The rooms are charred black. Just thinking about it nearly brings tears to her eyes.

"Sometimes I’m ok, and the reality of it sets in, and then I’ll be crying and all emotional and stuff," shares Washington.

The oldest, seven-year-old Mariyana, loved that apartment. Tameka, her fiancé, and the kids lived there over a year.

"We had lots of toys and stuff, and we had lots of room," remembers Mariyana.

Red Cross put them up at a hotel for three days. A relative paid for one more days’ stay at a Comfort Suite Hotel. Tameka tells TODAY’S TMJ4 after they check out Monday, she doesn't know what she's going to do. They’re not able to stay with family or friends, and all the shelters she's called are full.

"When I think about it in a positive note, I think God has something greater in store for us. Maybe - I can't see it now, and I don't know what it is, but I know you certainly go through a storm before something good happens," hopes Washington.

Tameka adds that her landlord has agreed to return her $600 security deposit Tuesday. She hopes that'll help with finding a new apartment.

To help the family, a fund has been set up for basic items like food and clothes. Anyone can donate at any TCF Bank to Tameka Washington or through a Facebook page.