LAKEVILLE, Minn. (FOX 9) - The clock had just struck midnight on New Year’s and Tim Neyfeld remembered having mere seconds to throw water on the fire that had ignited in the family’s garage.
“Ran inside, yelled, ‘Hey, we’re on fire,’” recalled Neyfeld, whose home suffered the fire. “So, grabbed a bucket trying to put it out.”
“The third time I was running in there, the flames were hitting the ceiling like crazy already, almost like I was hitting it with fuel, not water. It just escalated really quick,” he said.
Within moments, the whole house was engulfed. Neighbor Jeff Wood captured the inferno on video.
10 total people, including the Neyfelds’ young children and their guests ran out of the house into the frigid conditions barefoot with just the clothes they were wearing.
By the time firefighters extinguished the fire several hours later, the Neyfelds had lost everything.
“Eyes and tears, tears in the eyes. Pretty hard. Pretty crazy,” Neyfeld said. “The top level is gone. We walked in there. The main level is an ice castle. Everything is flooded.”
Tim and Oksana Neyfeld were crushed. They started off their new year with heartbreak.
However, their misery and misfortune quickly turned into gratitude and appreciation as neighbors, friends and their son’s hockey teammates rushed in to assist.
The family ahs been inundated with donations to help them rebuild their lives. A GoFundMe page generated more than $11,000 in a day. A neighbor’s living room has morphed into a virtual department store for the Neyfelds and their kids.
The family has even been offered a nearby home that currently sits vacant in their Lakeville neighborhood for temporary housing.
“I knew some friends and neighbors,” said Oksana Neyfeld. “I don’t know them at all or how kind and nice.”
She said their support means “everything,” adding, “They’re my family now.”
“There is not enough words to describe how grateful we are,” Tim Neyfeld said. “If everything goes right, we’ll be building right here. We are staying here. This is our home.”
The Lakeville Fire Chief tells FOX 9 that the blaze is still under investigation.