NASH, N.D. — Family and friends helped Kelly Jo and Kevin Berg empty out their home just a day after it was ravaged by a fire.
"Thankfully I got my jewelry box and my grandmom's jewelry box out. (We're) trying to salvage some pictures, but that's about it," said Kelly Jo, who had barely made it out of the burning home the night before. "You never think it's going to happen to you — from sitting on your couch to fighting for your life in just a few minutes."
The couple was watching TV with their 9-year-old son Keegan around 6 p.m. Sunday night, March 24, when they heard an explosion in the garage.
Kevin got out through the kitchen door leading to the garage, with Keegan right behind, who scooped up their kittens on the way out.
But Kelly Jo couldn't escape.
"I literally turned around to grab a box to put the kittens in. I was trapped," said Kelly Jo, who is three months pregnant.
"I was panicking. I didn't know if I should jump out my son's window, but I didn't want to hurt the baby," she tearfully recalled. "That's why I didn't jump out."
She ran to the other door, which was wrapped for winter because the family never uses it.
"It was terrifying. It felt like my hair was melting," she said.
A melted ceiling fan shows how hot it got in the house as she waited for help.
But Kelly Jo's husband was able to get her out just in time.
She is sharing her story to stress the importance of having several escape plans and to make sure the entire household is familiar with them. She says she wasted valuable seconds panicking while figuring out how to get out.
"I'm an adult, and I should have known how to get myself out, but I was trapped," she said.
And if you do winterize your home, Kelly Jo recommends having something in the room so you can get through the plastic.
The Bergs are thankful to be alive, and thankful for the community who has rallied around them.
"I can't believe it, it's shocking. You see it on the news, but to receive it — it's unbelievable," Kelly Jo said.
As his mom and dad continued to salvage belongings from the house, Keegan was doing back flips on the trampoline, celebrating some exciting news.
"Just found out today — it's a boy," Kelly Jo said.
The Bergs think a charging remote control car or a wood stove may be to blame for the fire. The Grafton Fire Chief said he has asked a state fire marshal to investigate.
A GoFundMe account has been created to help the family.
You can also drop off women's and men's XL clothing and boy's size 10 clothing at these locations in northeast North Dakota:
- 751 Promenade Court in Grand Forks
- 940 Prospect Ave. in Grafton
- 12974 74th St. NE in Edinburg