FRANKLIN SQUARE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A fire ripped through a home early Monday morning, leaving eight members of the same family displaced just two days before Christmas.
Residents woke up at around 6:30 a.m. to flames shooting from the roof of a home on a quiet residential block in Franklin Square. In all, 100 firefighters responded and put out the blaze in just over an hour. Hours later, the home was still smoking as firefighters shot water through the living room window.READ MORE: Boil Water Advisory Finally Lifted For 4 Northern New Jersey Towns
“It feels like a dream. I haven’t woken up yet. It will hit me soon, but not yet,” resident Rachel Havrylkoff told CBS2’s Tara Jakeway.
The 22-year-old said she got out of bed when she heard her uncle screaming upstairs. She lives in the basement of the home with her brother and parents. Two other generations of the Havrylkoff family live in the two units above.
“Everyone’s out. Everyone’s safe. So that’s all that matters,” Rachel said.
Her uncle, Thomas Bisogno, said his first thought was on all of his family members in the house.
“I was getting out of the shower, getting dried off and my girlfriend said, ‘The house is on fire.’ I tried to grab the fire extinguisher, took one look and said, ‘Oh no, we are getting out,'” Bisogno said. “I was screaming my brains out, ‘Get out! Get out! Get out!'”
All eight people inside at the time got out unscathed from the fire, which officials said started on the first floor.
“First it was smoke, and then the fire it started all around the house,” neighbor Walter Perez said.READ MORE: Ribbon Cutting Marks Official Opening Of NYC's Newest Pride Health Center In The Bronx
Perez shot video of the early morning flames as he watched in horror from his house across the street.
“I feel so sad, you know, because all of the things are outside. There’s nothing good,” Perez said.
A charred Christmas tree and a melted TV set were some of the only recognizable things left in the pile of burned debris on the Farnum Boulevard front lawn. The Havrylkoff family said all they have left are the clothes on their backs.
“A total loss. The house is a total loss,” said Franklin Square and Munson Fire Department Chief John Salzman said.
“I lost everything. I lost everything two days before Christmas. Who knows? I don’t know. Just try and make the best of it,” Bisogno said.
The unfortunate event brought out the best in the community.
“I just brought them some sweatshirts and blankets. I know what they’re going to do,” neighbor Jodi Messina said.
Other neighbors stopped by to bring food and coffee. And by Monday afternoon donations on a GoFundMe page set up for the family were in excess of $10,000. The page was started by Rachel Havrylkoff’s childhood friend, bringing her some comfort as she begins the task of sifting through the charred remains of her childhood home.
“My family is here. Everyone is alive. It’s a Christmas miracle,” she said.MORE NEWS: Child Tax Credit: October Payments Hitting Parents' Bank Accounts
The Red Cross was at the scene providing the family with what they need while the investigation continued. There was no immediate word on exactly what sparked the blaze.