Community aids family of 8 after their home burns down


ST. LOUIS – A family of 8 who lost their home to fire is counting their blessings and among them, the St. Louisans who are stepping up to help them.  It happened on North Market just north of downtown.

Markale Nienhuis, 15, saw the flames. He said, “It looked like the sun blew up it was all orange you couldn’t see outside at all.” 

The fire was burning towards Markale’s room. He moved quickly to get his 3 siblings to safety. He said, “I yelled at everyone to get out of the house, get out of the house.” 

His mom and dad and two younger sisters were arriving home at the same time Sunday night around 7. His mother, Jessica Nienhuis, said, “I won’t ever forget that image.” 

Her husband Mark Nienhuis was stunned. He said, “I’m sitting there watching everything I worked for burn.” 

More important than possessions: his family. He said, “I thank God I was able to run through the door and get out in the backyard and see all my kids.” 

No one was injured. The family of 8 is now staying with the children’s aunt and uncle. 

Aunt Tameka Stigers said, “My husband and I get energy from people. It’s not a problem to have more.” 

The family calls Markale a hero. Now silent heroes who may be strangers are helping the family through a Go Fund Me Page.

“I’m crying more to see the love people that don’t even know me sending help,” Jessica Nienhuis said. Mark added, “To have people come to my aid, people I work with, people I call brother in the military to come out here and look out for me, it means the world to me for real.” 

“There’s a lot of hard things that happened in our community and our neighborhood, it’s just great to see people step up and help,” uncle Josh Stigers said.

Markale will never forget the fire. “Most definitely the scariest thing I’ve been through,” he said.

Jessica said, “The hard part is for me to accept our home is gone.” 

The children’s schools have sent uniforms so they can return to classes Tuesday. 

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