Wednesday, December 26, 2012
A Christmas Day fire left a Valley Center Family without a home.
In addition to losing everything in their house, three family pets died in a fire that broke out about noon Tuesday. Now, neighbors are brainstorming ways to help a family that has faced hardship before.
Brian Sanderson and his family had gotten up and celebrated their Christmas morning by opening gifts. They had just arrived in Andover to celebrate with extended family when they got a devastating phone call.
"My neighbors started calling me and telling me that my house was on fire," Sanderson said. "We jumped in the truck and drove back over here. By the time we got back here, it was already a loss."
The fire is not the first major hardship this family has had to face. In 2010, oldest son Reed Sanderson, then 7-years-old, organized a can-collection drive to help raise money to help his dad get a liver transplant, which he still needs.
However, a fire on Christmas was especially heartbreaking.
"It's just devastating," Brian Sanderson said. "My wife and I, we just hugged each other and cried. It was all we could do."
As restoration crews boarded up windows and placed tarps on the house Wednesday afternoon to prevent any further damage, neighbors like Mandy George were starting to organize benefits to help their friends.
"They need clothes, they need toothbrushes, they're going to need money for food," said Mandy George, who lives two houses away from the Sanderson family. "Just anything we can do."
Friends and neighbors of all ages are coming up with ways to help.
"My daughter, she's inside right now making cards for the kids," George said. "That's what she thinks she can do."
Fire investigators think a cell phone charger left plugged into the cigarette lighter of a car parked in the home's attached garage is to blame for the fire that left the Sanderson family without much but each other.
"It's just a complete loss; we don't have anything," Sanderson said. "We literally have my truck and the clothes we had on. That's it. It's all we have."
The home was insured and Sanderson is now waiting to find out if the home can be repaired and, if so, how long that is going to take.
Neighbors, including George, say they will share more information about how to help the Sanderson family once the best way to help has been determined.