Katie Moore / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @katiecmoore

NEW ORLEANS -- The day before Thanksgiving, a West Bank family is trying to pick up the pieces after they lost everything in a fire Tuesday night.

It's an all too common story as temperatures begin to drop.

At the Bickham home, everything was soaking wet and covered in soot.

'I wouldn't want nobody to go through this,' Tiasha Bickham said through tears outside her burned out shell of a home.

The fire ripped through the back section of the duplex, but the smoke and water destroyed everything in the home.

'I was in the shower and my son came in and he said that the house was on fire,' Bickham said.

It was around 11:30 p.m. She said she ran out of the shower trying to get everyone out on a bitterly cold night.

'It's got to be the horriblest (sic) feeling in the world, you know,' she said.

Bickham called the duplex home with her six kids, her mother and brother and a cousin living on both sides. Wednesday, Bickham's mother worked her way through the refrigerator throwing out everything she had prepared in advance for Thanksgiving dinner Thursday.

More full trash bags ended up thrown out than full of things that they managed to save. It's a cold reality for the Bickham family and so many others throughout the year.

'In the greater New Orleans area we respond to fires about once every nine hours,' said Melissa Eugene, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, Southeast Louisiana Chapter.

The Red Cross and the New Orleans Fire Department said the number of fires goes up every year as temperatures drop because of the increased use of heaters and even holiday cooking.

The cause of the Bickhams' fire is still under investigation, but firefighters said it started in an interior closet.

'We give them an emergency, immediate place to stay, some emergency food and some money to replace some of their clothing,' Eugene said.

Bickham works for a catering company at Tulane University and said Wednesday that she was trying to get things in order to go back to work and to get her kids back to school on Monday after the holiday.

'All I can say is pray. Just pray. I know God gonna make a way,' Bickham said.

Family members are still figuring out the best way to try and get some help. As soon as we get the information, we will pass it along.

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