TAFT, Calif. --
A Taft family has been burned out of their home just six days before Christmas. They lost nearly everything they own and all of their Christmas presents in the fire.
Three adults and seven kids were inside the home when the fire started. Thanks to a heroic 8-year-old, everyone made it out OK.
The fire started about 3 a.m. Monday. Fire crews say an electrical problem in the wall heater probably started the fire.
"They told us that the roof was on fire for 20 minutes before it actually entered the house, so they were sitting in there for 20 minutes with a burning roof and didn't even know," said Mireya Jones, the familys oldest daughter.
Eight-year-old TJ Pixley awoke when he noticed the fire.
"I smelled the fire. I woke and the clothes were on fire and everything, then I woke her up and she went to go to my mom," Pixley said.
His family says TJ is a hero, but this isn't the first fire TJ has survived.
"It was the second time that my house had a fire because I had a fire at my dads in Bakersfield and here," Pixley said.
Now the family's Christmas tree sits in a heap of soggy rubble near the front porch.
"My sister just had a birthday. All her birthday presents are gone. All the Christmas presents are gone. Nothing made it out," Jones said.
The Red Cross is helping the family with food and clothes.
"Our focus is on immediate aid immediate assistance. We try to get them through the first 72 hours or so," said Red Cross Volunteer James Bradley.
A dog and a cat died in the fire. The family found them this morning. Everything that survived the fire sits in a small pile in front of the home. The family is now faced with starting all over again.
It really scared me, but I am happy that they are OK. Im just happy they made it out OK," Jones said.
One firefighter suffered minor injuries.
The Red Cross says they have been very busy this year and they are looking for donations so they can continue to help families who are victims of fire.
The family says they have no idea how they are going to provide Christmas presents to the seven kids in the home.
If you'd like to help the family, you can contact Mireya Jones at 661-293-0614 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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