PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - A Portsmouth family who lost everything in a house fire over the weekend is making a public plea for donations.
Children's Christmas gifts are among the items found in the debris.
"I'm looking at it and I'm like, 'No... this is not our house,'" said Angela Vaughan, who escaped from a bedroom window.
The sound of screaming woke Vaughan from a deep sleep early Sunday morning. She opened her bedroom door to a wall of smoke.
"I got up, touched my doorknob, and it wasn't hot, so I opened the door," Vaughan said. "And when I opened the door, the smoke just hit me."
Vaughan knew she had to jump out of her bedroom window. She yelled for her 12-year-old son to do the same.
"I started screaming at him, too, telling him, 'Don't go out your door!'" Vaughan said. "So I jumped out my bedroom window, ran over to his window, busted the window out, busted the screen out and yanked him out of the window."
Vaughan's brother, who had been sleeping on the living room couch, ran out the front door. Two other relatives also jumped from windows. They all huddled together in the cold and watched their belongings burn. Vaughan says it is upsetting to know all of her son's Christmas presents are gone.
"A pair of new Nike Jordan's, a tablet.... tons of clothes," Vaughan said, listing some of the lost items.
Vaughan spent New Year's Eve running errands, picking up new contacts and car titles, trying to replace what burned. Also on the list was picking up the family dog from the vet.
Vaughan says the dog is lucky he wasn't home because he usually sleeps in the garage, where the fire appears to have started.
"Thank God, because that's where he sleeps is the garage," Vaughan said. "He would have been gone."
This family is asking for clothing donations, specifically for Vaughan's 12-year-old son, who wears size large shirts and size 30x30 pants.
Vaughan is also asking for monetary donations to help pay the veterinarian bills to get the dog back home.
Donations will be collected at a benefit for the family Saturday in Chesapeake. It will be held at Otis' Raw Bar. The family is also working to set up a donation fund at a local bank.
Fire officials have not determined a cause. The Vaughan family suspects it was an electrical fire, caused by a faulty outlet in the garage.
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