The smoke still smolders in the pile of burnt out debris that the Collinsgru family once called home. It was 9-year-old, Anna Collinsgru who alerted her mother of the tragedy that was to follow.
"She said she smelled smoke, and there was smoke in her room. I went back thinking it was the ceiling fan motor that was going out in her room. When I got to the bedrooms, I noticed there was smoke billowing out of my son's door, so I pushed it open and his whole wall was on fire by that time," says Debora Collinsgru.
She says it happened so fast all she could do was grab her children and run. Her husband Charles was sleeping at the time, but he too made it safely out of the blaze. But to Debora's great sadness, there was one member of the family who didn't make it.
"Once outside, I realized I forgot my dog inside. I ran back in to get him. There was no saving him. He was too far gone from the smoke," says Collinsgru.
Debora says their dog Milo was more than a pet. He was their best friend.
"My dad buried him this morning along side one of their dogs they loved so much," says Collinsgru.
Debora says her family's loss is especially tough with Christmas just around the corner. She says the fire took all their Christmas presents. But despite their loss, she says it's the kindness of others that has helped her family through this tough time.
"It's just overwhelming. When the chips are down, it's seems like that's when people's hearts get big. We appreciate everything they've done so far and anything they do in the future," says Collingsgru.
Deborah says despite all the fire took from her family, in the end all that matters is that didn't take them.
"It's going to be hard getting started again but we're going to do it. We're all okay that's what matters," says Collinsgru.
If you would like to make a donation to the Collinsgru family, an account will be set up for the Collinsgru family at any Bancorp South location.
If you would like to donate clothes or shoes to the family, their sizes are listed below. Just call (228) 697-6017.
- Debora (Mother) Shirt: Large / Pants: Size 9-10 / Shoes: 8 1/2
- Charles (Father) Shirt: XL / Pants: Size 34 - 32 / Shoes: 10 1/2
- Anna (9-year-old) Shirt: Large / Pants: Size 16 / Shoe: 6
- Lucas (8-year-old) Shirt: Large / Pants: Size 12 / Shoe 4