Family Of Eight Escape Overnight House Fire

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Baldwin family was fast asleep at 3 a.m. Tuesday when mother of six, Marlena Baldwin, heard screeching noises.

"I thought somebody was trying to break in, and I looked out and already the central air unit was on fire. It jumped to the house and it was quick and I grabbed the baby," says Marlena.

"My mom yelled 'fire!' and then I looked, I looked outside of the house and there was a big flame," said George Baldwin, Marlena's son.

"My dad had a jug of water and was trying to put the fire out, but it was too late," says 13-year-old daughter Evianea Morones.

The parents and their children, ages 1 to 13 years, fled from their home as fire crews arrived to battle the blaze. The flames turned all 4 bedrooms to black ash, and the children's toy cars and other belongings are now scattered across the front lawn.

"Now all my clothes are gone and I got nothing left of mine," says 9-year-old Angel Morones, Marlena's daughter.

"Clothes, shoes, everything, my dress and my bed," says 11-year-old Kayla Baldwin, Marlena's daughter.

The family says they are still in shock, but thankful everybody, including their 4 cats, made it out alive.

"I lost some stuff in the fire and my sisters did too, and I don't care about the stuff as long as my family is still safe I'm okay," says Evianea Morones.

The Red Cross is assisting the family with a place to stay at the Ramada downtown while they cope as best as they can.

"We will get through it, we always get through everything," says Marlena.

The daughters planned to dance at the Pow Wow this weekend at Lake Shawnee, but all their dresses were destroyed in the fire. If you would like to donate anything at all, the family says you can bring it to the front desk at the Ramada downtown.

Shawnee County Dispatch told 13 News that Topeka Firefighters were called to the 400 block of SE Gray around 3:20 a.m. after a homeowner called authorities to report the fire.

They said fire fighters reported that all eight occupants were out of the home when they arrived.

Dispatch said fire crews battled the blaze for more than an hour before it was reported out at 4:30 a.m.

Dispatch said the red cross was called in to assist the family. The estimated damage is unknown.