A blaze in Emmaus on New Year's Eve burnt two homes to the ground. Two families were displaced, and an 11-year-old girl was hospitalized for smoke inhalation. Now the firefighters who helped put out the flames are trying to get the families back on their feet.
The call came in around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 31. A twin home on East Main Street in Emmaus was burning.
"There was fire coming out of every window on both halves of the home," explained Emmaus Fire Department Captain Matt Hahn.
What the fire didn't consume of the two homes had to be knocked down hours later.
"They literally lost everything that they had," said Hahn. "The fire pretty much gutted every single room in the house, so all their clothes, all their kitchenware, it destroyed everything."
Katherine and Gerald Maury watched 30 years of memories disappear.
"We lost a lot of things, but you can always get things, you can't get lives," shared homeowner Katherine Maury.
Neighbor Jarred Goeppert and his 11-year-old daughter Jada also escaped the blaze. Their 6-year-old Great Dane Hamlet wasn't as lucky. Jada was taken to the hospital and is being treated for smoke inhalation. She was taken off a ventilator Wednesday.
"She's walking, she's eating," added Jada's grandfather George Goeppert. "She may be coming home tomorrow."
Now the same firefighters who battled the flames are trying to get the Maurys and Geopperts back on their feet.
"I've been with the Emmaus fire department for 10 years and I can't recall us ever doing this for a family," said Emmaus Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Justin DeLong
Feeling touched by the devastating ordeal the families are going through, the department is holding a relief drive this weekend.
"When we first heard about it, we started to cry," smiled Katherine.
This Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the firefighters will be collecting donations for the families at the Emmaus Fire Department at 100 North 6th Street.
"One of the biggest needs they have is going to be clothes," said Hahn. "Any kind of daily soaps, deodorants, the stuff they need day to day."
They're also asking for toys, household items, gift cards and cash donations. Bank accounts for the Maurys and Goepperts are being set up.
"It's amazing how people are just coming out of the woodwork to help these two families," said DeLong.
Here's a list of specific needs:
-Pants size 14-16
-Shirt size large
-Shoe 8 wide
-Basic first aid supplies