BETTENDORF, Iowa – The Harksen Family is picking up pieces after a fire smothered part of their home on Christmas night.
At first, it was like every other Christmas. Friends and family gathered around the fireplace they light up once every year – when the unexpected happen.
“We were in our family room and we had just finished opening Christmas gifts,” says Amy Harksen, the homeowner.
“Black billowing smoke came out from the crease between the roof and the wall all along the back of the house and the room we were in,” Harksen recalls.
At first, it didn’t seem serious.
“We just thought it was something that was going to be taken care of,” says Harksen. “Really quickly my daughter called 911 and we knew to get out.”
“It wasn’t until we were outside that neighbors were there saying, ‘your house is on fire in the back!’,” comments Harksen.
Fire and smoke engulfed half the family home as they were just about to sit down for Christmas dinner.
Now, the house tearing away piece by piece.
“We did lose a lot,” Harksend emphasizes. “Our family room is pretty much a loss and the kitchen all the ceiling is down. We are just sort of in shell-shock right now.”
And now this Christmas will be different than any other.
Everyone in the family made it out safe, including the cat.
They are currently staying at a nearby hotel and are working on their living situation, especially now when their son is home for college winter break.
The cause for the fire is still under investigation. The family believes it was a structural issue with the fireplace that was part of a 2005 addition.