A Winnipeg man and his son are injured and left with nothing after their Elmwood home went up in flames early New Year's Eve day.
Police and fire crews responded to the fire in the 500 block of Castle Avenue at around 6 a.m on Dec. 31.
Marlin Knott said he woke up sometime after 5 a.m. when one of his cats jumped on his chest. He looked down the hall and saw sparks, then flames shoot out of the wall.
"Everything went up in a matter of seconds," he said. "The whole ceiling was on fire."
Knott said his first thought was of his 17-year-old son sleeping upstairs.
"First thing I did was I jumped up, I ran upstairs and got him up," Knott said. "He was already black with soot, that's how fast the fire went."
Keenan Knott said he panicked, and instead of following his father downstairs, he turned and kicked the air conditioner, positioned on the window sill, through the glass.
"I dived right out the window, I hurt myself and I was yelling my dad's name and he started carrying me," said Keenan, adding he landed on top of the air conditioner.
Marlin thought his son was behind him when he smashed through the front door that he said was already melted shut. When he got outside and noticed Keenan wasn't behind him, Marlin thought about running back into the burning duplex to get his son.
'I was so relieved'
That's when he heard Keenan's cries from the back yard.
"I was so relieved, I thought, 'He must have jumped," said Marlin.
Both of the Knotts said they were too traumatized to phone 911 for help after staggering away from the blaze. Marlin Knott said the fire was electrical, though officials haven't yet confirmed the cause.
They also lost several pets in the fire.
"We had six kittens and we had three cats," Keenan said. "I loved my cats, I loved them so much."
Keenan and his father were both rushed to hospital for smoke inhalation, and Keenan spent three nights intubated in the intensive care unit.
No renter's insurance
Now they're both staying in Marlin's older son's one bedroom apartment, trying to figure out where to go from here. Knott didn't have insurance on the apartment they were renting. He said his only income is from social assistance and long-term disability cheques.
"The house is basically gutted, you can see from one end to the other," Marlin said. "The stairs are gone, we had pictures all over the walls, we had other things. All our clothes were all melted and burnt."
Keenan's ankle is bandaged and he now walks with a limp from the jump he took from his window.
"We have no food, we have nothing, we have no money we have no clothes," he said. "I hope someone can help us. Maybe buy some food."
The pair said they appreciate any help the community can offer.
Riverwood Church on Talbot Avenue is providing support to the family, and is able to accept donations of clothing and grocery gift cards on their behalf at this time.