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Woman Takes Off with Red Cross Money; Deserts Daughter and Roommate

By Chelsea KAY, @ChelseaKayTv
Published On: Nov 12 2012 07:03:29 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 13 2012 01:55:30 PM CST
REDDING, Calif. -

A woman who lived in a Redding home that was burned down said her roommate took off with the money The American Red Cross donated to help them out.

The fire started around 10 p.m. Sunday night at a home on Bunker Street, which is off East Cypress Avenue.

Redding fires crews said the fire was started by flammable items that were left too close to the wall heater. They were able to contain the flames to the living room and kitchen.

Cynthia Leroux rents a room from Tina Tideman, who rents the house from a landlord.  

She said she and Tina were already in bed for the night and that Tina's teenage daughter and her daughter's boyfriend were still awake when the fire broke out.

She said, having lost her mother and grandmother to a house fire in the 1960's, she was frightened.  "I was screaming and hacking and coughing and trying to catch my breath and stuff," Leroux said.

She said she was saved when the teenager's boyfriend came to the back of the house and helped her find her way out.

The American Red Cross put them up in a hotel and gave them some money to buy food and other necessities.

Leroux said after spending a night at a hotel, Tina took off with the money, leaving her own daughter and Leroux in the dust.

"I come close to losing my life in this house over irresponsibility and then to turn around and for somebody to just take off with all that money that would get us by for a little while...I'm upset," Leroux said.

Leroux said she is in utter disbelief about the entire situation and still can't believe how the fire started in the first place.

"You don't put stuff on top of a wall furnace. You don't put it next to it, you don't leave chairs, clothes or any other garbage next to a wall heater," she said.

We tried reaching out to Tina Tideman to ask her about the situation, but we could not track her down.

American Red Cross officials said they are looking into it.