Family escapes early morning Detroit house fire, but lose everything

A Detroit family woke up to their home on fire. They escaped with their lives but lost nearly everything else.

"I swear I just still stand here and I can't even make a move. All I do is keep looking at this house," said Bertilia Boylan. 

Boylan, wearing clothes and shoes from neighbors, can't seem to stop the tears - as she stood in front of the place she called home on Detroit's Dobel Street.
"Everything is gone, everything,” she said.

Cellphone video taken shows the fire Boylan says she woke up to early Wednesday morning.

Boylan says she and her boyfriend were asleep upstairs around 3 a.m. and her son, asleep downstairs, woke up to breaking glass.

"He yelled upstairs somebody's breaking in - no the house is on fire," she said.
Boylan and her boyfriend jumped out of bed - and ran toward her son. She says the fire, appearing to have started on the porch, was spreading quickly.

"All you see was orange flames coming straight through," Boylan said. "There was no coming out of the front door, there was no way."
Boylan said she was barely able to see - or breathe - from the smoke. For a moment, she and her family thought they were trapped.

She said they started breaking windows and her son was eventually able to get to a back door.

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"I don't know how I got out," Boylan said. "My son (got out) through the grace of God."
Boylan says she moved into the home a month ago - and has been renting to own it. She said she didn't hear smoke alarms going off and that she doesn't have insurance. The flames destroyed everything in their path, including the only photos Boylan had of her late mother.

"We literally have to start all over again from a place to stay, furniture, everything is gone," she said.
While Detroit fire is still investigating the cause which they say, may be suspicious, the American Red Cross is giving Boylan a place to stay for the next couple of days. Boylan is now hoping for a few more helping hands.
"If you can help with anything for me and my family I would greatly appreciate it," she said. "I don't care if it's a pair of socks. Anything will help me and my family right now." 

If you would like to help the Boylan family, email Bertilia at or donate to the GoFundMe link HERE.