Single mother, 2 children lose possessions after Christmas tree catches fire

Cause of fire under investigation

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Janine Stanwood - Anchor/Reporter

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - A single mother and her two children lost their home and all of their possessions Friday morning after their Christmas tree caught fire.

Miami Beach firefighters were called to the apartment on Washington Avenue and 15th Street after the woman, Ericka Molina, sensed heat coming from the bathroom door.

Fire Rescue officials said Molina gathered her daughters, Alexandra, 11, and Jessy, 17, and ran out of the home as the fire burned through all of their belongings.

Surveillance video from a neighbor shows thick, black smoke billowing from the apartment as Molina and her daughters ran out of the home. 

Molina's 11-year-old daughter called 911. She said her pet bird died in the fire.

"The first thing that was on my mind was the toys that my dad gave me when I was little and my bird, which died," Alexandra Bolivar said. 

"It's difficult to explain, but I feel so bad because we need to start again and we need to forget everything, but, you know, it's difficult," Molina said. 

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but the fire chief said either a plug-in air refresher got hot, igniting the Christmas tree that was nearby or there was some kind of malfunction with the Christmas lights. 

"God knows the reason why things happen, but it's not easy," Molina said. 

Firefighters reunited with the family hours later to give them toys, clothing and groceries to help get them through this difficult time.

The donations were made through the Miami Beach Firefighter Charity Inc., an organization that gives back to families in need.  

A GoFundMe page has also been created to help the Molina family get back on their feet. 

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