Family recovering after nearly deadly fire

FRESNO, Calif.

The fire destroyed their home on Fountain and Del Mar in central Fresno last month. The mother suffered third degree burns when she went back in to save her son.

The Anderson family barely survived the fire that left nothing but charred toys and furniture. Firefighters say the flames spread quickly after one of four boys was playing with a lighter.

After evacuating her two nephews and her younger son, Alixandria Anderson rushed back into the house to save her 8-year-old boy, Nathaniel.

"I don't know what happened," she said. "There was a backdraft and that's when the flames hit my back and I collapsed at that point. Next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital."

Alixandria suffered third degree burns to her arms and back. She stayed in the hospital for a week. Nathaniel suffered minor burns.

The family gathered at a relative's house for Christmas Eve and they have a lot of gifts to be thankful for, not the least of which is their lives. But there's still so much more they don't have.

"What are you thankful for at this point?" asked a reporter.

"We have somewhere to live," said Nathaniel.

"Yeah, that's been the hardest thing the last couple weeks," his mother said.

Their new house is a Tower District two-bedroom without furniture or appliances. Alixandria's sister, Cassandra, is renting it.

She sleeps on blankets on the floor, and the bedroom for the four boys is completely empty, but she has a vision for what it could be.

"Two sets of bunk beds would be perfect," Cassandra said.

For now, the boys are staying with relatives until Cassandra can make the house more of a home.

"I think I should at least have a refrigerator to have food in the house and beds for them to sleep in," she said.

They may have lost all their possessions, but they some say they gained a hero in Alixandria.

She begs to differ. "It's not heroism," she said. "It's motherhood."

If you'd like to help the Anderson family, an account has been set up at Bank of America where you can make a donation.

You can do so at any Bank of America branch. The account number is 0633571231.

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