Belvidere family loses everything in house fire, neighbors step in to help

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Last Friday, Adan and Maria Perez received an unexpected phone call while they were out running an errand.

“My son told me I would be speaking with a firefighter, because our house was on fire,” said Adan. “At first, I thought he was joking, but the firefighter was actually telling us to come home, because they were still putting the fire out.”

Maria said she immediately feared the worst, because four of the couple’s children were left home.

“On the way there, you just imagine the worst. And, when you get there, you look at the streets that are closed off, and you see the firefighters,” she said. “The firefighters told me my kids were safe, but you don’t believe it until you see it.”

The children did make it out of the house safely, and while the structure is not considered a total loss, everything inside was destroyed.

The family will have to spend Christmas away from home after losing everything they owned, but they received a special surprise from their community.

The Belvidere Fire Department started a clothing drive to help them out.

Chief Al Hyser said, “In the fire service, we go out and we take care of the fire situation, but a lot of times, we don’t end there. We like to continue to help out, and this is the way we can do this, for the family.”

“We just feel like there’s a need for this,” Hyser continued. “There’s eight people needing items, and definitely during [the holidays]. We’ll help people out any time, but the necessity is there. Hopefully this will go a long way in making their holiday season a little brighter.”

The family said they’re grateful that they’re safe, and even more grateful to their community, for the donations.

“We don’t feel so alone. On the contrary, we feel blessed. It’s incredible that during these difficult times, so many people have stepped up to help,” Adan said.

The fire department is still collecting donations at its fire stations for the family, which they plan to give to them next Wednesday, just days before Christmas.

Still needed are the following items:

Women’s size L clothing
Men’s’ size L clothing
Size XL men’s clothing, size 10 shoes
Size XL women’s clothing
Men’s size M clothing
Size 5T clothing, 10/11 youth shoes.

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