Neighbors help raise $10,000 after family loses home in fire right before Christmas

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SUFFOLK, Va. - "You walked out of this door it was like a wall of heat," said neighbor Mark Hendrickson. "It hit you in the face."

Others who live in the Suffolk Meadows community tell News 3's Aleah Hordges the house went up in flames and into ashes in just 20 minutes.

"That was one of the fastest - what you would call 'fully engulfed' structure fires -  that I've ever seen," said neighbor Nicholas Borelli.

It was a two-alarm fire fire crews say started around 4 p.m on December 16.

Two people and their dog were inside during the fire, but they escaped safely.

Investigators haven't determined the cause of the fire.

"Every time it's a little bit of moisture or what not you can smell the ash through the whole neighborhood so it's constantly getting talked about right now," Borelli said.

Now neighbors are stepping in to help.

They're trying to raise $10,000 for homeowners Ernie and Carole Miller to have a normal life again.

"We're only a few days away from Christmas so you have to do something. You have to at least try in some way," added Borelli.

Money isn't the only thing neighbors are hoping to donate.

"Some food, basic house hold supplies, toilet paper, stuff like that," mentioned Hendrickson.

To help make a monetary donation, click here.

You can make other donations by emailing Michelle Hendrickson at mrhendry@charter.net or visiting Dynamic Movements dance studio in Suffolk.

Related:

Two-alarm fire destroys Suffolk home