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Family grateful to firefighters who saved Christmas

By Nicole Vowell | Posted - Dec. 23, 2014 at 10:21 p.m.


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ROY β€” A late-night fire put a mother and daughter out of their home Monday. The firefighters who showed up not only saved the home from being destroyed, they also saved Christmas.

The fire began just before 10 p.m. at the home near 3400 West and 5800 South. Brooke Souza and her 5-year-old daughter, Ashlyne, were across the street at a neighbor's house.

"He's all, 'Your house is on fire!' And I had a meltdown," Souza said.

She watched as the fire spread to her daughter's bedroom upstairs, her family's trailer outside, and finally to her neighbor's home.

As firefighters arrived, they knew they could not save the home but soon noticed something very important inside the home.

β€œ(The) guys did a great job. They went in and got all the Christmas presents, still had wrapping paper on them, and brought them out,” said Roy City Fire Capt. Ron Latham.

The crew went in and out of the home quickly, gathering each and every gift. They also saved the Elf on the Shelf, for Ashlyne.

"When she saw it this morning she [said], 'What? How did he get here?' She lost it," Souza said. "Big ol' tears [were] going down her face."


(The) guys did a great job. They went in and got all the Christmas presents, still had wrapping paper on them, and brought them out.

–Capt. Ron Latham, Roy City Fire


And there was one more surprise: among the gifts the firefighters saved were birthday presents for Ashlyne. Her birthday is on December 29th.

"She wants Christmas, she wants her birthday; and they got everything out," Souza said. "That's all I can ask for. Everything else, it can be replaced."

It's estimated the fire caused between $120,000 and $150,000 in damage to the home, but Latham said it’s amazing that the interior is largely intact, with minor smoke damage.

The garage, with an ATV and a truck inside, an upstairs bedroom and an upstairs family room all sustained heavy fire damage, Latham said.

Investigators believe the fire started in the garage, but Tuesday night they were still trying to determine a cause.

The home is covered by insurance, and the family hopes repairs can be made to make it livable again within a few months.

Contributing: Pat Reavy

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Nicole Vowell

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