Updated: 03/23/2014 4:34 PM
Created: 03/22/2014 4:05 PM KSTP.com
By: Todd Wilson
Latonya Garrett has several reasons for sadness and joy. Two families lived in her north Minneapolis duplex on the 2800 block of Colfax Avenue.
Her upstairs neighbors, 60-year-old Troy Lewis and his seven kids, took up the second and third floors. Lewis lost five of his children in a deadly duplex fire on Feb. 14.
Garrett and her family were able to make it out of the fire safely after her son woke up to smoke in his room and ran to wake Garrett. They ended up losing all of their possessions in the fire.
"I don't like to dwell on anything because the more you think about it the worse it seems," she said.
Garrett now has a new place to live.
"The same landlord at the previous property got us a house that we live in now, it's very beautiful," she said.
And the house is very empty. So the community organization, "MADDADS" set up a benefit to help the family out. Blankets, glasses and a microwave are some of the items dropped off to the family Saturday afternoon.
Eva Slick said she was compelled to help.
"I lost a child when he was 10 and so, I got a lot of help and support from people I didn't know, if I can give back why not," she said.
While accepting gifts, Garrett is also giving some. She is giving away smoke detectors along with safety prevention tips.
"Not a lot of people put smoke alarms on their grocery list. They don't put it on their buy list and it's great to just give it," she said.