After a west Forsyth family lost their home in an early morning fire on Sunday, members of the local community, including local firefighters, came together to make sure the family was taken care of for Christmas.
Two days before Christmas, firefighters responded to a residence off Dr. Bramblett Road at about 4:55 a.m. that was engulfed by heavy fire, displacing three adults and one child to nearby relatives. The home was deemed a complete loss.
"That's always obviously an impactful event to a family. But anytime that occurs at the holidays is even more so, especially when there are children involved,” said Forsyth County Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers. “And in our field, experiencing that with families, it leaves an impact on us, because our job is to help people in any way that we can."
To help make up for lost presents, the department donated a number of gifts and items – including teddy bears, toys, games and dolls – previously donated by the community for Aerial’s House, an annual toy drive to aid children around the holidays.
"Adults are fairly resilient, we can get by with donated clothes and the items that friends and family and churches or the Red Cross give to us," Shivers said. "But to a young child, they don't understand what's happened and at Christmas time, we want that time to be special just as if it was your child or my child.
"You want that to be something special, so they don't retain a memory of something devastating, they retain a memory of something positive."
Shivers said while the department couldn’t aid with all the stresses of losing a home, “the stress or the concern of their daughter possibly not having a Christmas morning, we were able to take that away from them.”
"We didn't do it for glory and we didn't do it for recognition but what matters is, the family is safe, they were able to celebrate Christmas together and the little girl woke up Christmas morning and had gifts from mom and daddy and gifts from Santa Claus,” he said.
Along with donations from the fire department and other members of the community, a GoFundMe page set up by a relative had received more than $7,000 in donations from about 120 donors as of Friday afternoon.Alexander Popp contributed to this report