Organization helps veteran's family after devastating fire - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Organization helps veteran's family after devastating fire

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A veteran and her family are getting help renovating their new home after a fire burned the old one. Smoke damage from the fire inside a duplex in the 3600 block of Cadillac Drive forced the family of five out last month.

Natalie Bell and her boyfriend bought a new home in September. In the meantime the family planned on staying in their current rental property on Cadillac Drive while they renovated that home, but things sped up after the fire destroyed everything they had.

"It's probably the worst feeling ever because you're helpless...you can't go save anything," said Bell, Waterloo.

Nearly everything was destroyed or damaged in the fire. Bell, her boyfriend and their 11-month old son were inside the home when the fire started in the garage.

"He kept asking me, 'do you smell that?' and I am like, 'no I don't smell anything'," said Bell. "I opened up the door to immediate pure Satan's inferno."

The family lost their home and dozens of items that can't be replaced.

"It's the video camera that has my kid's birth on them that you can't get back...that's the part that's hard," said Bell.

The family planned to stay in the duplex until January while they renovated their new home, but the fire forced plans to change.

"We weren't intending to move until the first of the year, but having five people in a hotel room it's kind of put the urgency on the issue for us to get out of there and get back to some normalcy for the kids especially," said Bell.

Bell served in the Air Force for four years and her service was recognized by the Americans For Independent Living. The organization's main goal is to help veterans get back on their feet and they have offered to help with the renovation of Bell's new home.

"I can't even tell you what it means to be honest with you, there's not even enough words because legally we are homeless and that's a hard pill to swallow especially with three children and two that can actually understand that we don't have a home," said Bell. "Like I said I can't even put it in to words, it's the most humbling, generous and heartfelt thing that anyone could do."

Bell says the organization plans to have the remodel and have the family moved in by Christmas. Americans For Independent Living is looking for volunteers and supplies to help with this renovation. For information on how to volunteer or help the Bell family CLICK HERE.

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