Community rallies for family devastated by fire

Posted at 9:27 PM, Dec 24, 2015

BURLINGTON, Ky. — Unwrapped Christmas presents were among the world one Northern Kentucky family lost Wednesday night after a fire devastated their home in Burlington, and now local firefighters are going above and beyond the call of duty to lend a helping hand.

Emergency crews responded Wednesday evening to a residence on Georgetown Drive. That house belonged to the Pennix family — two adults, Tom and Theresa, and their seven children, in all.

Authorities said the fire started in the garage before spreading to the rest of the house.

Firefighters battled the blaze — even worked to protect the children’s gifts with a tarp — but ultimately, the fire left Tom, Theresa and the children homeless this Christmas week.

“At first, I didn’t know my kids were okay,” Tom said. “When I found that they were okay, I almost collapsed because I was worried about that.

“Any fire’s devastating, especially with children,” he said.

Now, this Christmas Eve the family is picking up the pieces, one piece at a time and working to keep their spirits up.

“Today we did come over and rescue my son’s teddy bear,” Tom said. “He was very concerned about it. He’s six, he’s special needs, so he’s emotionally attached to it. We’re happy to find out he’s okay — he needs a bath.”

To help out, local firefighters with the Hebron Fire Protection District — the agency that first responded to the blaze — are asking for the community’s help by taking donations of unwrapped presents at their headquarters at 3120 Northbend Road.

The kids’ ages range from 2 years old to 14 and there are three boys and four girls. Clothing donations can be sized as such:

Boys: Sizes 6-7, 8-9, 30-32 jeans
Girls: 7-8, 10-11

The agency has also set up a GoFundMe page where those who would like to help can make a monetary donation.