Family of 7 left homeless, living in van after fire just before Christmas

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

SEE: Family left homeless after fire just before Christmas

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Firefighters are working to help a family of seven get back on their feet after a fire destroyed their home weeks before Christmas.

Alita McClendon, her fiancé and her five children were inside their Atlanta apartment when a fire broke out. They all made it out safely, but they lost everything they owned.

“We were just standing there watching our house burn up,” McClendon said.

They were left homeless, out in the cold, but it gets worse. One of her children has surgery scheduled for two days after Christmas.

“I have a 7-year-old who has sickle cell disease, and he is in and out of the hospital,” she said. “I don’t have anywhere to take care of him because we are displaced.”

Since the fire, the family has been sleeping in their van.

“Right now, we’ve been in a car and we’ve had everything we owned in that car,” McClendon said. “I didn’t realize until just yesterday that I don’t have much hope.”

When Atlanta Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Matt Driver heard about their situation, he knew he had to do something.

"To actually get back on their feet is a lot more than just a donation a lot of times," he said.

Donations have come into the fire station. Driver got the family a storage unit, somewhere to put the items helping them start over.

The family says they’ve looked at shelters but those will split them up.

"The most important thing right now is family and trying to maintain ourselves as a family unit," McClendon said.

She also said it’s been hard to find a new home because all of their official paperwork and IDs were lost in the fire.

If you would like to help the family get back on its feet, you can donate here.

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