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Fort Smith family loses home to fire the day after Christmas

On Dec. 26, the Steadward family is devastated after losing almost everything in a house fire the day after Christmas.

VAN BUREN, Ark. — The Sunday after Christmas, Dec. 26, at around 5 a.m. the Steadward family realized their house was on fire.

"I just yelled 'get out of the house, everyone get out of the house',” said Robert Steadward.

Steadward, his wife, and three kids were inside the home when the fire began. Their other child was at their grandparent’s house during the fire and no one was hurt except one of their cats of 11 years, Lucky. 

"Everything is just gone, it's nothing but ash and rubble," Robert said.

The Steadward's signed a lease on the house just two months ago and planned on making it their permanent home. Despite losing nearly everything, the family is still counting their blessings. 

"Just knowing that within seconds my daughter could have been dead. So, I'm just thankful my kids, my wife are safe," Robert said.

When asked about the family's next steps, the father says they are going to try and rebuild their homes and lives.

After sharing the loss of his home on Facebook, the community stepped in to help. Co-worker Robert Snider is collecting donations for the family and says helping out after a tragedy can go a long way.

"There's no limit of what you can do to help them because they lost everything," Snider said. "So, it's like years and years of belongings. Now they have nothing."

"The willingness to help a complete stranger, has been surreal," said Robert about the donations.

The Steadward family is currently staying in a nearby hotel, thanks to Mrs. Steadward's job. The family is also working with their landlord to discuss rebuilding or relocating.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family during this time. 

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