A fire that broke out at a four-plex apartment building in Newton Falls is having a lasting impact on those who lived there.
Her first concern, however, is finding her cats.
“It’s one of those things that you never think is going to happen to you,” she said.
Beelen was in her kitchen washing dishes when the fire broke out Friday afternoon.
“My daughter’s on the computer. We’re jamming out to music, and all of a sudden, I smell burning plastic. I turn, and there’s a wall of smoke blocking the exits,” she said.
She said it all happened so fast, so there wasn’t much time to react.
“First thing I think is, ‘Oh my God, I wish I had a fire extinguisher.’ Second thing, ‘Get the heck out of the house,'” she said.
Beelen said she and her child got out through a window. Before Beelen escaped, though, she wanted to make sure her pets were also safe.
“We got out the window, and I threw one of my cats from the second floor. I heard the other cat got out,” she said.
The cats are still missing.
Beelen described the cats as “chubby” without collars. One is black and the other is gray, and she believes that they’re probably together.
“They don’t know what happened. They’re scared. They’re cold. They’re hungry. They’re spoiled, you know, so they don’t know what to do,” she said.
Beelen said after her family got out safely, the Red Cross showed up to help any way they could.
“They were very helpful, and they made the night a lot easier,” she said.
Volunteers made sure that all of the residents in the building had a place to stay and the basic necessities like a toothbrush.
“I mean, I’ve never seen so many people come together so quick,” Beelen said.
Although she lost her home, she’s looking forward.
“Sometimes, when you lose everything, it’s just a new start. It’s a reset button. It’s not a loss,” she said.
Firefighters fought the blaze for hours on Friday afternoon. It ended up rekindling around 11:30 p.m. and they had to return to fight that fire as well.
No one was injured. The cause of the fire is under investigation.