'Grateful everyone got out', several displaced on Christmas after fire on north side

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MILWAUKEE, WIS (CBS 58) - Several children are without a home after an early morning fire on the north side. 

The American Red Cross of Wisconsin says multiple adults, including children don't have a home after a fire Saturday morning. It happened around 3:30 a.m. on 39th Street. 

CBS 58 spoke with one of the displaced residents who says his children were happy and opening up gifts just last night when they woke up to the news they had to evacuate their home. 

The resident says he's a father of three and is focused on next steps. 

"That's my first concern is my family, making sure that they are good, especially my kids. I have to take steps to figure out what I have to do to make sure I can get another roof over our head and make sure that they're good," said Joseph Wilson. 

The Milwaukee Fire Department says the fire broke out on the first floor of the home on 39th Street around 3:30 a.m. 

The American Red Cross stepped in to help the families impacted. Justin Kern, Communications Director, American Red Cross of Wisconsin, told CBS 58 they're helping seven people from one unit and five people from another. This includes several children. 

The Red Cross is providing a short-term stay at a hotel and food to both of the families. They are also keeping an eye on the mental health of the victims, as events like this can be especially devastating during the holidays. 


"Fire is obviously traumatic but especially for children, our mental health and spiritual health folks will be there for them. I think in particular around the holidays, and we've had a number of fires around the state and the up between thanksgiving and today...our folks sew that into their regular responses more than usual. As the stress can compound more this time of year with something like a home fire," said Kern. 

The American Red Cross says they've responded to 79 fires since Thanksgiving that have affected more than 300 people. A third of those people are just in Milwaukee alone. 

The Milwaukee Fire Department does not have a cause for the fire just yet but are investigating. CBS 58 will continue to follow this story for any updates. 

If you'd like to donate or volunteer with the Red Cross. Click here. 
http://https://www.redcross.org/local/wisconsin.html

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