MILWAUKEE — A daughter is trying to help her mother after she lost everything in fire that killed a man in the apartment below her near 13th and Cleveland early Tuesday.
Alex Novak grew up in a second floor apartment, and she got a call Tuesday her childhood home was up in flames.
"It's been our family apartment for as long as I can remember, so it's really sad to see it all burn up and go away just like that," Novak said.
She says her mother and her roommate smelled smoke very early Tuesday morning.
"They just happened to be awake, we saw that as kind of a blessing in disguise," Novak said. "I believe they were the ones who called the fire department and pulled the fire alarm."
Officials say crews helped about 30 people get out of the apartment complex. Tragically, a 45-year-old man was found dead in a first floor apartment, where investigators believe the fire may have started. His wife was taken to the hospital. The family is asking for privacy.
Investigators believe a space heater may have been the cause. It is still under investigation.
Novak says she can't imagine what the family is going through.
"That could have easily been our family," Novak said. "And they have our condolences, and if they need any help as well, I know resources are available, and I would like to offer that to them as well."
She says the Red Cross and other family members are helping her mom, but it's tough—especially so close to the holiday. Alex launched a GoFundMe to help her mom get some necessities and find a new place to live.
She says some special items are lost forever.
"When I was talking to my mom recently, she had a lot of pictures—physical and backed up on her laptop," Novak said. "We're not going to be able to recover those, so that's a heartbreaking thing."