Community rallies behind Valley City family after fire destroys their homeFargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -A Valley City family is trying to get life back to normal after a fire all but destroyed their home earlier this week.
By: Becky Parker, WDAY
Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -A Valley City family is trying to get life back to normal after a fire all but destroyed their home earlier this week.
Three family members had to jump from the second floor of the home to get out safely.
But tonight, they say their neighbors and even strangers are making the terrible loss much easier.
The family literally made it out with just the clothes on their backs, which frankly wasn't much, since they were all in bed when they discovered the fire.
Now, they say they're thankful for the tremendous outpouring of love and support from the rest of the community.
It was one thirty in the morning, and most of the Schonert family was already in bed when Linda Schonert smelled smoke on her way to the bathroom and called out to her husband, John.
John Schonert, homeowner: "The basement door was open, and smoke was just pouring out of the basement."
Linda, who came down with a case of bronchitis after inhaling so much smoke, went to get the kids, 11-year-old Tucker and 13-year-old Ashton.
They were scared to even go down the stairs, there was so much thick, black smoke.
So, they went to a window on the second floor.
Linda Schonert, homeowner: "I told Tucker he had to go out, jump out the window. He wouldn't go, he was terrified, he would not go and I did not know what to do. So, I just picked him up and threw him out the window."
Linda jumped next, followed by Ashton and everyone was out safely with just a few scrapes and bruises.
Though the family was safe, the house and everything inside was all but destroyed.
They made it out with nothing, not even shoes, which resulted in severe frostbite on John and Linda's feet.
They still don't know where their dog is.
Linda: "I had been doing some cleaning, or scrubbing and I took my wedding ring and engagement ring off, and put it in my purse. Well, that's gone."
That night, their neighbors helped out a lot, giving them a place to stay before emergency responders arrived.
Days later, that willingness to help has only grown.
Pastor Jim Black at First Baptist Church says he has fielded many calls from people wondering how they can help.
The Red Cross put the family up in a hotel, a local thrift shop told them to come in and take whatever clothing they might need.
Linda: "People out on the street that I didn't even know, knew who we were and were handing me envelopes with gift cards, or bags of clothes."
John: "Everybody is really coming together and it's nice to see that people care."
There is a fund set up at Bank Forward in Valley City for people to donate to the family.
If you have physical items you would like to give, you can drop them off at First Baptist Church.