Fire Victim Reacts after Tuesday Night's Blaze in Meadville - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Fire Victim Reacts after Tuesday Night's Blaze in Meadville

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Alivia Hyldahl was working at the Liberty Street Meadville Medical Center when Tuesday night's fire broke out at her apartment building at the corner of Chestnut and Liberty streets. 

"I could smell something weird while I was in a patients room. I went out in the hall and asked what was going on. Somebody said there was a house fire on Chestnut. I asked where and when they told me I just couldn't believe it."

Hyldahl just moved into this building in December. She said her boyfriend was home at the time of the fire.

"He was sitting in my living room at the time, he saw smoke start to pour in the living room, by my front door, went out in the hall and it was just filled with smoke."

Her boyfriend went through the building, helping others like a mom with her young baby, get out safely.

"He went pounding on doors with a couple other guys that lived in the building." 

Chief Hedrick of the Meadville Fire Department said the winter weather didn't help when it came to putting the fire out.

"During the battle, the truck froze up, the pumps were freezing, hose lines were freezing. We did get some assistance from the community though."

This fire is bringing the community together. CHAPS, an organization that helps find homes for those without a place to stay, is helping residents like Hyldahl get back on track.

"Everybody walked out or was not there and lost everything they owned," Lynn McUmber, Executive Director of CHAPS. "So we'll be trying to help them reestablish getting their basic needs."

Other organizations, have also been helping. Monetary donations for the victims are being taken at the United Way of Western Crawford County, and non-monetary donations will be accepted at the Crawford County Humane Society Thrift Shop and the Center for Family Services.

Hyldahl said she's grateful for how giving everyone in the community has been.

"I'm just devastated with everything I lost but everyone keeps telling me, 'you're here, those are all possession, they can be replaced and you can't'," said Hyldahl.

State Fire Marshall's have ruled the cause of the fire undetermined, and the building will be torn down on Thursday.

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