By Bobeth Yates

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – CBS4’s Neighbors 4 Neighbors and a viewer are stepping up to help a family for the holiday after a blaze ripped through their apartment.

The fire happened in the 21 hundred block of NW 9th Place in Miami Gardens last week. Twenty-three people were displaced but the family of four who lived in the unit where the fire started said they got little help until CBS4 got involved.

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“We were smack dead in the middle of the fire,” said Trinare Clarke whose apartment at Advenir at Walden Lake went up in flames last week with her and her son inside.

“We come out of our bedroom, and we noticed our balcony was completely in flames and so was part of our living room. Man, the flames happened so fast, the whole entire apartment was covered in black and gray smoke,” said Clarke.

She and her son quickly ran out, knocking on their neighbors’ doors as they left to help others get to safety. But everything they owned was lost.

“It’s like one minute it was there and we were enjoying the fruit of our labor and the next minute we had absolutely nothing, there was nothing left to salvage,” said Clarke.

To make matter worse, she said of the six families displaced by the fire, hers was the only one in the apartment complex that didn’t get put into a new place. Clarke said Advenir management just kept giving her the runaround.

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“Which I didn’t understand because the night of the fire, I was there with the investigator and the representative of the apartment when fire investigator stated that he found several spots in my ceiling that had faulty wiring,” said Clarke. 

Clarke said she and three children were left homeless to fend for themselves. While they were going through one of the worst times of her life, on the other side of town a group of residents, who are part of a book club, were looking for a family to help for the holidays.

“The original goal that we had doubled from last year and I found myself in a bit of panic and I was like who am I going to reach out to on such short notice,” said Alexandria Uriart.

She reached out to CBS4’s Neighbors 4 Neighbors who connected her with the Clarke family. They decided to sponsor them for Christmas, giving them some light in the midst of this dark time.

“It feels great to know that we are going to be making a difference in the lives of some people who need it during the holiday season,” said Uriart.

In addition to that positive news, after CBS4 reached out to the apartment complex management, they said they will have an apartment for Clarke next week.

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That news thrilled Clarke who said, “thank you to Katie from Neighbors 4 Neighbors, thank you to the family that’s donating to us, and thank you to CBS4, we appreciate it.”