Community takes action to help Navy family of 7 displaced by fire

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - The Hickory community is coming together to help a Navy family of seven displaced by a fire on Sunday.

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The Chesapeake Fire Department responded to a home on Tyler Way just after 10:30 p.m.

"All of the sudden I hear him screaming and it was terrifying, I just remember him saying 'Oh my God, oh my God, fire get out,'" says Kristine Coltellino.

She says there was a loud explosion. Her husband went to investigate and saw flames in the garage.

tyler-way-fire-1Firefighters battled the fire for almost an hour and there was significant damage to the entire home along with two cars in the driveway.

"I saw the mother and their five children outside wrapped in red cross blankets," says Ashlynn Baker, a neighbor. "I had to run inside and get a notepad and run over there I said 'I need everyone’s sizes.'"

Baker started posting about the family's story and items that they needed on Facebook, and she says it took off.

The Hickory High School PTSA Facebook page posted a flyer on their page with items:

"ATTN Hawk Community: A Hickory family of 7 lost their home Sunday night from a fire. You can call the numbers on the flyer or drop off items at the Hawks Nest School Store."

"It has just been an overwhelming act of gratitude and just love and outpouring from the community," says Baker.

A neighbor who witnessed the fire says they have received a lot of clothing items, but the family is still in need of some under garments, toiletries, and some games, books, and toys for the family's extended stay in a hotel.

She says monetary donations to the GoFundMe page, gift cards, and prepared meals are also extremely helpful.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Coltellino is hoping for answers, but in the meantime, is overwhelmed by the community's help.

"This is like a family," she says. "We’re so grateful for everyone helping us because I don’t know what we would do."

Anyone interested in dropping off or donating items can e-mail Ashlynn.baker@chkd.org.