Detroit family who lost 2 boys in fire struggle to move on

A Detroit family struggling to get by, after losing two young boys in a devastating fire.

Their father has dedicated his life to building homes for people in need, but now he's the one in need of a new home for his family.

"We are a very closed knit family," said Le'Reathra Burrell. "It's a struggle waking up and not seeing the boys we are taking it day by day."

Burrell and her husband have buried their two sons, 12-year-old Quartez and 17-year-old Cortez Burrell who died in a fire at their home on Lyford Street on the city's east side two weeks ago. 

Now they are trying to move on with their twin daughters by their side.  

"At nighttime when they went to bed, I heard 'I love you mother' four times," she said. "Now I it's only two."

Burrell is grateful her daughters - who were not home at the time of the fire - are still here. 

"I thank God that he allowed us to still have the girls," Le'Reathra said. "Because he could have taken all four."

The family lost loved ones, their home and everything in it.

The Burrells have a relative that has generously allowed them to live with her. But they need a new house, a home to start over.

"We are trying to get them into a Habitat home," said Vincent Tilford from Habitat For Humanity. "Our program is a hand-up and not a hand-out."

The Burrells know the program well, Quartez has worked for Habitat for nearly a decade. Now Habitat is helping one of its own.

"For that first year they won't have to pay any mortgage payment for a year," Tilford said. "They will have their tax and insurance they'll have to pay, but no mortgage payment for a year as they try to get back on their feet."

Still that could be tough for this family, they had no mortgage on their other home and only one of them can work right now.  Le'Reathra suffered severe frostbite on her feet escaping the fire.

"I can't work right now," she said. "Because I have frostbite. I don't know when I'll be able to return back to work."

But little by little they will get there - with the help of a community that cares.

"People are reaching out to my family in so many ways," she said. "It is a blessing that love is still alive."


To donate money to help the family, CLICK HERE for the GoFundMe account.

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