After fire leaves family homeless, News 12 viewers help out

News 12 First at Five / Friday, Dec. 27, 2013

SALLEY, S.C. (WRDW) -- There's not much left of the Salley home near the corner of Poplar and Wagener Streets. On Christmas Eve, it burned to the ground.

"For my four year old," says tearful father, Tony Thompson, "it's a little heartbreaking."

On Thursday, News 12 interviewed the homeowner, Thompson, who's now living at his mom's house with his three young children.

"All we had was basically the clothes that we had on our backs at the time," he told News 12

Sixty miles away, in Martinez, Tia Kemp is stepping up to help.

"I was very touched. I have six children of my own, and I couldn't imagine them losing everything at Christmas," she says. "It's very, very sad and depressing. It's actually my husband's idea. His first response was: Can we help these people? Can we chip in? What do we have? What can we collect?"

After watching our story, Kemp says she put the idea to Facebook, and it spread fast.

"I hope to, by in the morning, deliver at least three truck loads of household items and clothes for the children," she says.

Back across the river, in Williston, Fire Chief Milton Widener is also planning to help this family.

"Williston has always been a giving community," he says. "We're going to take anything from monetary donations, to clothes, to whatever, and we'll see to it that it's given to the appropriate folks in Salley."

Even though the family lives a county over, Widener and the other firefighters are glad to help.

"It's just so devastating. I mean, you prepare weeks and months ahead for Christmas, and then you have a Christmas Eve fire like this. It's just such an impact on the family," he says.

Aiken's local Toys for Tots chapter delivered the children some toys on Friday afternoon. Many other groups, and regular people, are helping out too.

Thompson says he's extremely grateful for all the generosity. He's actually a worker at South Carolina Department of Transportation. He says if donors can't make it to Salley, they can drop off donations at the SCDOT office at 1931 University Pkwy in Aiken, across from were the new county complex is being built.

If you would like to donate, you can also call the family at (803) 564-3427 or (803) 564-3461.

The family has provided News 12 this list of clothing sizes for the three children:

Angel (12 years old)
- Pants: Women's 10 short
- Shirt: Women's Medium or Large
- Underwear: Women's 6
- Shoes: Women's 10

Chris (9 years old)
- Pants: 14/16 husky
- Shirt: 16 Boy's
- Underwear: Boy's Large
- Shoes: Men's 7

Emmalee (4 years old)
- Pants: Kid's 7
- Shirt: Kid's 6/7
- Underwear: Kid's 6
- Shoes - Kid's 12

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