GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Crystal Givens can’t forget the way smoke and flames poured out of the windows of her home.
She was at the hospital for four hours with her husband for a work-related injury on Wednesday night before getting home to watch everything burn.
“The first thing I thought about was ‘let me get my dog.’ But when we called her name, and she didn’t answer, I already knew she was gone because I couldn’t even see her cage when I opened the door,” Givens said.
The family lost their puppy Bella along with clothes, toys, furniture and even their Christmas presents.
“I had my Christmas presents since August because I had just gotten my tax return. I bought TVs. I bought a game system because my son keeps asking for a PS5,” Givens said.
She said that when she started feeling like she was losing her faith, that’s when her angels started appearing.
“We see a lot of tragedy. We see a lot of negative stuff. But when we can come together and help someone in the community, that’s what makes us feel better about our job,” said Capt. Ken Lilly with the Greensboro Fire Department.
Lilly was one of the dozens of firefighters who showed up at the scene. The more he learned about Givens and her family, the more he wanted to help.
He started collecting money from other firefighters who were at the scene.
On Christmas Eve, firefighters gave the family thousands of dollars in Walmart gift cards.
“We just hope it blesses her family and gets her through this Christmas and just gives them a fresh start because they lost everything,” Lilly said.
Givens said the outpouring of support from firefighters and other members of the community has been overwhelming.
“I cried on my way over here. He has been on my phone since that night, making sure I was OK,” Givens said.
The support restored her faith in herself and the people around her.
“I tell everybody I lost everything but my faith, and that’s what’s keeping me going right now. I have to keep faith he’s not going to bring me this far to let me go now,” Givens said.
If you’re interested in helping the family start over, you can find more information on their GoFundMe page.