WALDO, Fla. (WCJB)- What started out as a cozy movie night with family, quickly turned into tragedy.
Lorretta Harris,16, was awakened by her two barking dogs and realized her family’s home was on fire.
"I got my sisters up, I had to pull my sisters off the bed cause she wouldn’t get off,” she said.
Lorretta managed to wake up her sisters, Kristina, 15, Jamie, 13, and Kaitlyn, 9 .
“I was scared, once I got to the door and everything, there was smoke building up.” Jamie said.
With only the clothes on their back the older kids grabbed the two babies and ran to safety as they watched their home burn.
Their stepmom, Danielle, was still inside and Jamie, 13, kicked down the door to get her out.
“It made me so proud that they just got up and did what they needed to do,” Danielle said.
The smell of ash and smoke still lingers in the air and as the family sifted through what was left of the home, they found old children’s books.
“Everything in that house had sentimental value,” Danielle said.
Unfortunately, the two dogs that helped save their lives never made it out.
Now, the Hawthorne and Waldo communities are stepping in and gathering donations to help wipe away the tears.
“We’re one big family and when you’re out there and you’ve seen people that come through hard times, you just want to help out,” Matt Surrency, Hawthorne Mayor, said.
“We’re trying to make the best out of the worst situation,” Danielle said.
The family says they are beyond blessed to be staying in a warm place with family in the meantime.
If anyone is interested in donating to the family, donations can be dropped off at Hawthorne City Hall or at 144 Levy Dr. in Hawthorne.
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