Jackson family who lost home, pets during fire receive holiday surprise from firefighters
A Jackson family who lost their home and many of their pets in a house fire right before Thanksgiving received a holiday surprise from the very firefighters who helped put out the blaze.
On the evening of Nov. 22, firefighters arrived at the home on Laurelton Avenue of the Van Name family. The back porch area was engulfed in flames as smoke spilled out of the home.
The family's eldest daughter, Dinah Van Name, was only person in the home at the time and she made it out safely.
"I just really appreciate that I'm alive. That I have my family," Dinah Van Name said. "It's just stuff and everything can be replaced. It's being with family and the love of community that can't."
However, the family's five cats and two dogs are believed to have perished in the fire.
On Saturday, the K9 Valor Christmas Mission, Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with the very same firefighters who helped fight the blaze, paid a special visit with sirens blaring to the family as they stay at a temporary apartment nearby.
The family said they were thoroughly surprised and thankful for the generosity and gifts.
"It's unbelievable it really is. It means so very much to us. It really does," Michelle Van Name said.
"It makes us feel loved. We went from, like I said, total despair to hope," her husband, Warren Van Name, added.
The firefighters who helped put out the blaze also brought the family gifts with the hope to change their fortune during the holiday season.
The K9 Valor said it was all about paying it forward.
"If you see somebody in need, do a good thing for them and it spreads, so that's all. Always help," said Sue DesMarais, of the K9 Valor Task Force.
The family believes the fire started near the hot tub they had on the porch. They say they plan on rebuilding over the next year on a piece of land from the foundation up.