NEW HOLSTEIN - "She's my soul mate. She's my twin. We've never been apart. This is the first time we've actually been apart," said Danielle Masucci, fighting back tears.
The Masucci family had their first look Tuesday in broad daylight at the New Holstein apartment building destroyed by fire.
The blaze killed 42-year-old Nicole Masucci on Friday. Investigators say it started in a kitchen area around a stove.
Her twin sister Danielle lived there, too. She made it out alive.
Now Danielle and the rest of the family say they need help paying for Nicole's funeral.
"I haven't slept in four days. I haven't eaten. I'm lost. I'm very lost," said Masucci.
In a daze, Danielle Masucci surveys what's left of her life. The fire that started in her apartment took everything from her, including her twin.
"It's hard for me," she said. "I don't know how I'll be able to take it."
"Nobody's going to be able to forget a person like her. Free spirit, kind-hearted, always laughing, always smiling. She's one of those people you can only hope to meet," said her niece, Christina Masucci-Usery, who drove up from Alabama to help out.
Masucci says her neighbors were lucky Nicole helped them to safety Friday morning, as their New Holstein apartment building burned.
Nicole was the only one who didn't make it out alive.
"I wish I would have went and not my sister, it's so hard," said Masucci.
The Masuccis come from Detroit. Most of their relatives live out of state. Nicole had no life insurance and no will. And now her family is left scrambling to lay her to rest after this sudden tragedy.
"We need to get some money up before Wednesday, and if we don't, she will be cremated. We don't want her cremated, we want her buried," said Masucci. "We want to send her to Detroit to be next to my dad."
While she struggles to send her sister home to rest, Danielle says finding a new home for herself has not been the top priority.
"Salvation Army and the Red Cross are helping me. I'll go to a motel and deal with it after that. I'm not worried about me. That's material stuff," she said.
Though the future now seems as black as these ashes, Danielle and her daughter Christina say they'll continue to search for a way to rise above this: To honor the memory of Nicole's smile in their hearts, though everything of hers is gone.
The Nicole Masucci Memorial Fund has been set up at Bank Mutual.
Her funeral will take place Saturday at Sippel Funeral Home in New Holstein.
Fire destroyed a house in Kewaunee County Wednesday afternoon.
Wind, snow, cold and ice played a role as firefighters battled a fire in downtown Ripon Wednesday morning.
Outagamie County's second largest employer is expanding, and veterans are encouraged to apply.
The State Building Commission has approved $5 million to help build the Wisconsin Maritime Center of Excellence in Marinette.
Fond du Lac police have released more information about the weapons they found in the apartment of a man who was at the center of a five-hour standoff on Monday.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is announcing a public meeting has been scheduled to provide road closure and design information for the Velp Avenue interchange area.