Couple Counts Blessings After Christmas Eve Fire - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Couple Counts Blessings After Christmas Eve Fire

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Steve Burnett and Valerie Green moved into their Leoni Township home in September and spent the fall renovating it. Yesterday morning, when a fire started in the attic, all of their hard work and personal belongings went up in flames.

"Luckily we're all still alive and I didn't lose a family member or one of us," Burnett told 6 News as tears streamed down his face.

During the interview, the couple could only speak about how lucky they are to have escaped with their lives.

They were opening presents around 9 a.m. yesterday with their daughter and grandchildren who are four- and five-years-old when they smelled smoke. They said the ceiling felt hot so they rushed the children to a neighbor's house across the street.

"She came and knocked on my door, there was smoke coming out of the house. About a minute later when I turned around, it was in flames," said Nancy Mangus who watched the children as the house burned down.

Mangus said, "It went up so fast,"

The couple said it wasn't only Mangus who came to their assistance, but the entire community and random passersby. Even a police officer who was there working offered them help.

"He pulled out his wallet and he handed me some money and I didn't even look to see what it was but I just busted out crying and I gave him a big hug and he started crying," Burnett said, "I wish I knew that officer's name."

Initially planning to move out of the neighborhood, the couple now plans to rebuild.  

"With this community being what it was, with how close they are and how good they took care of us. I want to stay there," said Burnett.

Green told 6 News that each day they have together as a family is a gift.

"Today is Christmas. We're thankful for this day. Tomorrow's not promised," said Green.

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