More than $26k raised for Dublin family who lost house and pets in fire days before Christmas

Published: Dec. 20, 2020 at 6:07 PM EST
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DUBLIN, Va. (WDBJ) - A Dublin family is lucky to be alive after losing their house and family pets in a fire December 18. Since then, the community has rallied together to support them--raising more than $26,000.

Radford University senior Noah O’Dell, who was home when the fire started, said within hours after he escaped, his entire home was destroyed.

“I just kind of woke up like you usually do any other morning and immediately noticed black smoke billowing at my door,” O’Dell said.

He then opened his ground floor bedroom door and saw his pellet stove up in flames.

“You could just hear the fire, like, roaring and loud and angry. I could see outside at that point, and one glance at that fire and I knew the whole house was going to come down,” he explained.

O’Dell yelled for his siblings, unsure if they were home at the time, and ran outside after he felt the ground shaking. Luckily, his two brothers were at school and his parents were at work.

“You see, like, house fires in movies and stuff, and it doesn’t really compare to that feeling, where’s my family, what am I going to do if I lose them,” O’Dell said.

The O’Dells did lose their home of 15 years, their two dogs and a few cats, but the family says the community is helping them heal after they’ve lost almost everything, including their wrapped gifts, just days before Christmas.

“It’s just amazing how generous they’ve been,” O’Dell said.

A gofundme page has already raised more than $26,000 for the family. Kelvin Thompson from Christiansburg, who knows of Noah from his church, helped to spread the word about the page just because he felt like it was the right thing to do.

“When I noticed it, I was like, you know, this family lost everything, this is around Christmas time, it really touched me to the core ... This life is rough as is it is. If we had more people that really cared about our communities and surrounding communities, then our world would be better off,” Thompson said.

The O’Dells say they can’t thank the community enough.

“The O’Dell family holds an abundant amount of love for you guys that we might not be able to ever express,” O’Dell said.

The fire is still being investigated to determine the cause. O’Dell said this fire has taught him how important it is to keep your bedroom door closed when sleeping. He said that if his door was open, the fire department told him he would most likely not be alive since the smoke could have killed him in his sleep.

The O’Dells are now staying at a nearby hotel and are using some of the money raised to help them rent a place until they can rebuild their home.

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