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Single mother of two young children loses everything in house fire

Jun 20, 2023, 6:12 PM | Updated: 6:20 pm

MAGNA, Utah — A woman and her two young children lost nearly everything they own when their home caught on fire Monday night.

Careena Juhaza lived with her father, her four-year-old son Kyler, and her 11-month-old daughter, Sophia at a duplex on 9080 West.

She said she planned to cook some food for herself at approximately 11 p.m. Monday.

“I had put a pan on the stove to cook, I went to heat it up, went back to the bedroom to get some socks, and I knew something was wrong when the color was different in my house,” Juhasz said. “I turned and looked and my kitchen was engulfed in flames.”

She said she grabbed her cell phone and her son and left the house. Her daughter was staying with a family member.

“Get everyone out,” Juhasz said. “I went for my son first, woke up my dad, was screaming outside to get anyone inside to put out the fire.”

Some of her neighbors woke up and heard her screams.

“I saw her open her door and this smoke come out, just barrel out of the top of the door and then I just saw this big, glow, flash light,” Elizabeth Robertson said.

Robertson’s husband and another neighbor grabbed their fire extinguishers.

“By the time the fire trucks got here, it was mostly black smoke,” Juhasz said.

She said when firefighters cleared the scene, there wasn’t much left for her to take.

“All of my belongings, all my kids’ belongings, gone,” Juhasz said. “I can’t save any of it.”

Bicycles were burned, baby clothes were covered in ash, and bedding smelled like smoke.

“This is where I basically raised my little one,” she said. “I was pregnant here with her. She grew up in this house, she has health issues so it’s been a rollercoaster for sure.”

Juhasz and her neighbors dug through her soot-covered belongings while she tried to keep her children comforted.

They’re being sheltered by the American Red Cross for the next few days.

“[Her son] woke up this morning super confused, ‘Mommy, where are we?’ I explained to him, ‘We can’t go home, son. That’s not home anymore,'” Juhasz said.

She said she was grateful for her friends who ran toward the flames.

“I will forever miss them,” Juhasz said.

They’ll no longer be neighbors, but they are bonded by what happened.

“Things can be replaced, but souls can’t be,” Robertson said.

Juhasz is working on finding new housing for her family.

You can donate to help her family rebuild through this GoFundMe*.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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