BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Neighbors are stepping up tonight to help a family who lost their home in a fire Tuesday on Winspear Avenue.
The neighbors on Winspear are a tight knit group; their children all play together, and many of them have known each other for years. When they all heard the sirens this morning, they took action in more ways than one.
Jennifer Tuttle lives down the street from the house that started on fire just before 6:30 Tuesday morning.
“We came out and saw the flames coming out of the house. I went down, I didn’t know what you could do at that point, but I found the dog running in the street so we secured one of the dogs at their neighbor’s house and just made sure the girls that lived there had a safe place to be until their relatives could come,” Tuttle said.
The girls, ages 8 and 12, lived in the downstairs apartment with their mother.
The Buffalo fire commissioner said several Christmas gifts were destroyed in the fire
Since Tuesday morning, Tuttle and her neighbors have been raising money and collecting clothing, knowing there was a much heavier loss in this blaze.
The man who lived upstairs died, along with his dog.
“What happened was tragic in and of itself but to happen five days before Christmas and to lose a loved one and everything you own, you know right now you’re just kind of thinking about necessities and making it through but I’m hoping we can help out so they can still have a little bit of a Christmas and celebrate and feel some of the joy of the season.”
The total damage is near $275,000.
Before setting up a GoFundMe this evening, the group already raised a thousand dollars from friends, neighbors, and Facebook.
Tuttle said the family is a loving, tight-knit group and everyone on the street knows them and their dogs. She said she’s hoping people keep the generosity flowing.
“Hopefully we can do something to make their holiday a little bit brighter.”
The family is also receiving help from the American Red Cross.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.