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Milwaukee family loses everything in house fire, MFD says 'suspicious' fire started in garbage cart

"I was just inches away from being stuck in the house"
Posted at 6:26 PM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 20:27:16-04

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee mother and her family are working to rebuild after a fire destroyed their home early Friday morning.

The Milwaukee Fire Department said the fire started in a garbage cart and spread to the home near 41st and Burleigh. MFD described the fire as suspicious, but said they could not prove who started it.

Cell phone video captured intense flames swallowing the home in the overnight hours. Mike Huggins, a local artist who lives nearby, said he was recording music when he stopped, heard popping sounds, then saw smoke.

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"It was so big I wanted to come close, but I was getting burnt by the sparks," Huggins said.

Huggins said he called firefighters right away before shooting the video.

"I just wanted everybody to be okay," Huggins said.

"I was just inches away from being stuck in the house," Marquitta McKenzie said.

McKenzie, who goes by Kenzie, said the fire started at the garage, then hit her home. Kenzie was cooking when she heard a tapping at her window. She said she opened her only door to the outside and was hit with warm air.

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"I looked to the left and it was nothing but orange. I just turned back around inside the house and I pretty much screamed and yelled to get my kids out. They were asleep," McKenzie said.

A couple of days after the fire, the smoke alarm was still ringing in the air.

"This is a lot of stuff. I can't really explain, but I lost a lot," McKenzie said.

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The mother of two young kids said they lost important documents, her children's belongings, new furniture, along with all of the equipment and inventory she needs for work as a local artist and content creator.

All of it wiped out a couple of days before her 30th birthday and before her kids' first day back to school.

"I'm just glad me and my babies are safe too, because we could've been gone," McKenzie said.

McKenzie and her two kids are staying with her mother until they can get back on their feet. Meanwhile, some friends on social media have been donating money to help.

A GoFundMe campaign was set up to help the family. Click here to learn more and donate.

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