Suffolk family rebuilding after fire destroys belongings before Thanksgiving

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It is not the Thanksgiving story a Suffolk family expected after fire destroyed most of their belongings and part of their rental home.

The apple pie was ready to be made, decorations were up but the malfunction of the washer-dryer in the home changed the holiday season quickly and with a vengeance.

Shannon Watson says her number one priority is her children.

“It does not seem real to me,” said Watson. “Right now, it’s all about my children. They don’t deserve this.”

Waston says she came home from an appointment and found out that part of the house she was renting went up in flames.

Suffolk fire crews were called to the home on Carolina Road the day before Thanksgiving. Officials say it started with a washer-dryer.

Watson’s 3-year-old, Zachary, is helping to comfort his mother.

“It’s okay, Mommy.” said Zachary. “Don’t cry, Mommy. Mommy, don’t cry.”

With the holiday season in full swing, Watson says she’s hoping it’ll still be bright for her kids.

“Christmas isn’t going to be about presents this year, it’s about getting back what we already had,” said Watson.

And, the community is helping her do that. They’ve donated clothes, along with a first month’s rent and the deposit on a new place to stay, mattresses, pots and pans.

“My focus has been moving forward,” said Watson.

Whether it’s a mother’s love when tragedy hits, or the joy of a rubber football saved from the flames — it’s the health and smiles of this little boy that will help this family pull through this holiday season.

“That’s my ball,” said Zachary. “I love this ball. You can catch it.”

10 On Your Side spoke with the landlord of the Suffolk property and he says he’s going through the proper steps and working with his insurance company. The family says the one thing they regret is not getting rental insurance.

Click here to donate to the family.