TONEY, AL (WAFF) - A Madison County mother and her three kids have found themselves homeless this Christmas after losing everything in a fire. Flames tore through their home in Toney earlier this month, leaving them in a dismal situation this holiday season.
"Now I have nothing. It's a total loss. There's nothing salvageable," said the victim, Brandy Nalls.
Nalls and her children went out of town for the weekend of Dec. 9 and got a call from family members that night notifying them that their house on Banyon Road was on fire. They got there and found that everything was gone. Thankfully, no one was home at the time and no one was injured, but it is a total loss.
"When we pulled up to the house, all three of my kids broke down in tears and I try to be strong for them because I'm the mom and I hold back my emotions. I was in shock for a long time and now it's starting to sink in and I'm trying my best not to cry right now," Nalls said.
They don't have a place to live and they don't know what they're going to do for Christmas.
"All of our decorations, our tree, it's all gone," Nalls said.
Sifting through the soggy debris, she found one small box of ornaments that were passed down to her.
Several fire departments battled the blaze, which gobbled up everything in its path, leaving only a burned out shell of a structure and gross, blackened rubble.
The family's furniture and clothing are gone, as well as all of the children's toys. Antiques and other heirlooms Nalls inherited from her relatives were lost.
"This really breaks by heart. These were my great grandmother's cookbooks," she said as she picked through different piles on the ground for anything she could keep.
"There may be a few items that can be salvaged but with the fire, soot and water damage to what little is left standing, it's looking very doubtful," she added.
It was another blow for the family because their home was burglarized.back in February.
Nalls said she lost her homeowner's insurance earlier this year, and she is unsure where to turn to start picking up the pieces. For now, they are staying with her boyfriend.
"I'm just trying to do the best I can with what I have, but I need help. I'm financially responsible for demolishing the rest of the house, the cleanup, everything. since I don't have homeowner's insurance, I'm unable to build another house because I'm not working due to medical issues," she said.
Nalls was encouraged by friends to set up online fundraising account to help her family through this difficult time.
You can donate by clicking here.
The fire ruined everything, but the family is trying to stay positive through their ordeal.
"Things can be replaced. Sentimental things cannot be replaced, of course, but I'm just very thankful and blessed that no one was home and no one was hurt. I don't know where to go from here. We have no home. We barely have anything," Nalls said.
An investigator with the Madison County Sheriff's Office is still investigating the blaze and it's cause, right now, is undetermined but officials say an accidental fire has not been ruled out.
The Red Cross is providing the family with some assistance.
Since she is responsible for tearing down the remaining structure and having it hauled off, Nalls says she hopes some volunteers from the community might step forward to help with demolition and clean up or any contractors out there who could donate their time and supplies to help her rebuild their home, and their lives.
"Where once stood our fully furnished three bedroom/two bath small home, now sits a pile of soot covered rubble, blackened wooden beams, black ashes, melted plastic, & unrecognizable debris," Nalls wrote on her Go Fund Me page. "In less than 25 minutes, the whole house was engulfed in flames. The cause of the fire is still under investigation & still listed as undetermined, but they think it was accidental or electrical."
"It's been completely devastating," she said at the scene.
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