Fire Destroys Fresno Home of 9

FRESNO, Calif.

It happened Friday morning at an apartment complex on the corner of Maple and Belmont.

Some residents were back in their apartments and the mother and her children -- ages 2 to 13-- who were displaced by fire have a place to stay.

Investigators said the fire appeared to have started in the electrical system of the building and spread into a back bedroom of their apartment.

"You think why didn't you try to grab something, but you don't think about that. I just kept thinking about my babies, I just kept counting and recounting to make sure they were all there," said the mother of the children Steffany Barber.

Sheets to shield them from the cold were all the family of 9 had left after an electrical fire destroyed their home.

"We heard they were cold and didn't have clothes or shoes neighbors brought them in, we distributed blankets and knit caps," said Karen Ertman, American Red Cross.

Barber said she and her 8 children were awakened from a nap by a smoke detector and the family pet, Fiesty.

"I heard it then it stopped. My dog was on me just howling, howling," said Barber. "I turned around and I saw a reflection of red."

"We had 8 very young children. Had they not been alerted early on, we could have been talking about serious injuries or fatalities," said Chief Rich Cabral.

In the middle of chaos--this mother thought to alert her neighbors. "Get out of the house, get out of the house. I was banging on everybody's doors," said Barber.

"We were able to gather our things we were scared, we were scared," said one neighbor, Latoya Crama

The room where they last sat as a family was charred and things that were not burned by fire were damaged by smoke.

"It's right after Christmas, it's going to be a real challenge for a mom," said Ertman.

'It was the first Christmas I was able to get my kids a family computer, we got them a little computer. I hadn't been able to get them that in a while," said Barber.

Barber said material possessions aren't important.

"I know I have to look at the positives and know my babies are ok God's going to make a way."

The American Red Cross will help Barbers family with food clothing and shelter for the next few days.

A family of four who lived upstairs from where the fire started has also been displaced. They will recieve shelter for the night.

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