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Family whose house burned paying extra donations forward

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) It takes about half of a house to hold the donations of diapers, toys and clothes for a Lexington family whose home burned down the day after Christmas.

"It's unbelievable, it's amazing, look at all this stuff," said Ryan Smith pointing to a basement stuffed with the day-to-day needs of his two-month-old Gabriel and his girlfriend Victoria White.

The family is calling Smith’s brother's house their temporary home since after a fire tore through their Deer Lake Circle house last Thursday.

Fire officials say hot embers left in a fireplace overnight sparked a fire in their neighbor's house that quickly jumped into their home.

Smith says firefighters were able to save a few things, such as ultrasound pictures of Gabriel, but Christmas gifts and nearly everything else they had was destroyed.

"It was a very overwhelming experience. Since then I've cried pretty regularly because we lost some sentimental stuff in the fire that we can't get back," White said.

Without renter's insurance, they say they were facing a new year with nothing.

"Rise out of the ashes, literally," said Smith.

Then he says something incredible happened.

Hundreds of emails and phone calls started pouring in from people across the country, even as far as California, who gave them even more than they could use.

Smith says they're overwhelmed by the amount of the physical donations they've received but they aren't turning anything away.

He says they're only keeping what they need and they will give the rest to the Red Cross, Salvation Army and local organizations that help victims of domestic abuse.

"If we didn't have as much help as we have, there would be no possible way. We're both extremely fortunate," he said.

They say they're paying it forward because others did the same for them, making sure they weren’t starting from scratch as they started a new life in the New Year.

Smith says they still need help because they're moving out of his brother's house in a month. He says that means there will be a move-in deposit to pay and furniture to buy.

If you'd like to help, there is a fund for the family at Whitaker bank in Lexington. You can also give at their donation website: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/1vp3/tori-and-ryan-s-fire-relief-fund


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