Family jumps from burning apartment, NBC12 viewer offers help - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Family jumps from burning apartment, NBC12 viewer gives children a new bed

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COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA (WWBT) -

In the middle of the night, a military mom and her two children jumped from their Petersburg apartment, into the arms of a Petersburg police officer. An NBC12 viewer saw their story, and said the children deserved a new bed for their new home.

"We heard about the tragedy, and we just wanted to give back," said Rachel Mounayar in an interview Friday. "The military has given us so much, and helping two kids and a military mom was the least we could do."

James Mullins, owner of a Richmond-area mattress chain, contacted NBC12 following the fire at the Genao family home. April Genao and her two children arrived at his store early Friday, Mattress Liquidators in Colonial Heights, and began the process of starting over.

Mounayar, the store's manager, walked Genao and her children Angel, 5, and Sophia, 2, down a row of mattresses, until the children flopped down on the last one in the showroom.

"I'm so happy that they have a bed," Genao said. "They were so upset… They said 'My bed is gone!' and everything. But this will make them happy, and I'm pretty sure they'll be jumping all over it."

Genao's husband is soldier now stationed at the Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany. In an interview Friday, Genao said she is glad to have a helping hand while her husband is 4,000 miles away.

"My kids can look forward to this, but I'm looking forward to my husband coming home tonight to help us look for a new place," Genao said.

Her children had a much softer landing jumping on their new bed than they did early Tuesday morning. The family had no escape from their burning Petersburg apartment, and had to jump out of a second story window.

Petersburg Police Officer Wendell James caught the children, as well as April, as the flames consumed the home. Genao lights a candle for her husband every night, a candle that started the fire while she checked on her daughter in another room.

The Red Cross also assisted the Genao family with a hotel room immediately after Tuesday's fire. Fire Marshals declared the apartment at 19 Woodmere Dr. a total loss.

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