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'It's just sad to lose everything': Family seeks help after apartment fire

Posted at 10:29 PM, Jan 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 08:19:36-05
  • Mike Sanders and Kristie Maufort were forced to leave their apartment quickly by a fire on Jan. 7
  • The couple, their two children, and their niece and nephew are now left with few belongings and no permanent housing
  • Their daughter Addison also suffers from cystic fibrosis
  • There are two fundraising pages available to help the Sanders family and their niece and nephew's family
  • De Pere Fire Rescue said the fire's cause remains under investigation
  • Video shows the fire's aftermath

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Last week, we told you about an apartment fire in De Pere that displaced six people. Now we meet two of those people, who tell us what happened and how you can help.

Mike and Kristie walk back to the apartment on Coral Street, where 10 days ago, they lost everything.

"My nephew was out there gaming, and he felt the fire on his back," Michael Sanders said.

Down in the basement, Mike tried to put the fire out with water.

"Half the bed was burned when I got down there," he said.

So the couple grabbed their two children and niece and nephew and hurried outside —

"This door right here, we all came out," Sanders said.

— with no time to save anything else.

"Pretty much all the stuff in the basement got torched," he said. "Some of the stuff in the kitchen got melted."

Now, the family has no permanent place to live, so we went over to a local library.

"We're going day-from-day pretty much, bouncing around from wherever we need to go," Sanders said.

The family has recovered from the smoke inhalation that sent them to the hospital the night of the fire — but Kristie is worried about their six-year-old daughter Addison, who has cystic fibrosis.

"I was worried that it was going to affect her with her breathing," Maufort said, "because with her disease, she can't really fight everything like we can."

Addison's chest oscillation equipment is just one thing they lost in the apartment, which is currently still closed because of the damage.

"My kids just had Christmas, so we lost all of that stuff pretty much, so they're sad about that," Maufort said. "So it's just been a little hard."

Mike's boss Chris Potter says Mike is a hard-working and good-hearted person, so he started a GoFundMe for the Sanders family.

Fire officials estimate the damages to be more than $50,000. Making matters worse — the family doesn't have insurance.

"It's just sad to lose everything and have to start over," Sanders said. "It's nice to have the people that are there to support us, though."

De Pere Fire Rescue says they still have not heard from investigators about the cause of the fire.