SOUTHSIDE, AR (KAIT) - An Independence County family lost their home to a fire Saturday night, but they are thankful and humbled after the firefighters went beyond the call of duty to try and save their Christmas.
"We smelled the smoke, we saw where it was coming from, and just getting them out of the house was a priority," Tiffani Dixon, a mother of five, said on Monday.
The family was at home Saturday night when their heater caught on fire.
Dixon was able to get everyone out of the house and to safety, but she couldn't help but think about what they left behind.
"I thought about their Christmas presents," Dixon said. "We had just gotten them out of layaway and, you know, I wanted them to have a Christmas but at the same time I was just glad that my kids were safe."
While crews worked to put out the fire, Dixon and her kids went to meet with a Red Cross Representative. She was able to get blankets and a few essentials.
"The police chief actually called me and told me that they had tried to save some of the presents, which I was not expecting at all," Dixon said.
"Normally we do a pretty good salvage operation and get what we can that would be salvageable out of the residence," Southside Assistant Fire Chief Chris Toland said.
He said although Dixon's house doesn't look destroyed from the outside, it is a total loss.
The fire was mainly on the floor, which caused major structural damage.
"And then, of course, all the heat and smoke rises and ends up inside the residence and the stuff," Toland said.
The firefighters say this is just what they are expected to do.
"It's what we do this for, I mean, we're out here to help people," Toland said.
But Dixon praised the firefighters for going above and beyond the call of duty for her family.
"We're not from here, we're from Indiana, so the fact that in a community where a lot of people don't even know us, they have stepped in and donated and made sure that we were okay," Dixon said. "I just thank the community for helping us as much as they can, especially the firefighters who risked their lives to save what we have."
Dixon said a lot of the presents for her teenagers were electronic and they don't work anymore, but she was blown away that the firefighters went back in to get them.
If you are interested in helping this family, you can donate to their GoFundMe page.
Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.