Neighbors, strangers help Suffolk family after devastating house fire


SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – In a matter of minutes on Saturday, a Suffolk family lost everything in a house fire. Now neighbors are trying to rally resources in time for the holidays, and they’re asking for your help.

“That house burned top to bottom in 15 to 20 minutes. Gone,” said Suffolk Meadows resident Nicholas Borelli.

He recorded some of the flames with his cell phone, and said the heat could be felt several homes away.

Borelli, a former firefighter, was still taken aback by what he saw.

“That’s probably the largest fully engulfed house fire I’ve ever seen.”

Fire officials say two adults and a dog got out safely, but the home is a total loss. Immediately Borelli knew he had to help. Not with fighting the flames, but with picking up the pieces. Now that charred remnants of what was once a home are all that remain.

“I can’t imagine losing everything I own in 15 minutes. Literally everything. There’s no chance. So just put yourself in those shoes, you have to help in some way,” Borelli told 10 On Your Side.

Two days ago, he set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of reaching $10,000. So far, others living in the Suffolk Meadows community have pitched in to raise more than $2,000.

“I wish I could say it’s surprising, but I’ve just seen so many really good things from the neighborhood; that there’s just so many good people out here.”

Now he’s hoping to spread the word about the fund. He says it’s OK if you don’t know the victims, because believe it or not, Borelli has never met them either.

“I don’t know them. I guess I don’t have to know them to help them out. The firefighters who ran out there to put out the fire didn’t know them and they’re going to help.”

To contribute to the GoFundMe, click here.

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