MILTON -- A fire in Northumberland County has left eight people, six of them children, without a home just days before Christmas.
Now, a community is pulling together to help.
Officials said the fire started Friday morning at a home near Milton High School.
A mother, a father and their six children lived in the home. Now, right before the holiday, they are staying in a hotel trying to figure out where they go from here.
Smoke-stained windows can be seen at the home along Sycamore Lane in Milton.
A house that is normally filled with the laughter of six young children sits empty after a Friday morning blaze.
"Very sad. As far as they, children, I would guess that all the gifts and everything were lost," said Lois Engle, Milton.
As luck would have it, most of the gifts were at a relative's house.
The state police fire marshal said that the Ayala family, eight in all, are safe. However, the home sustained heavy damage inside, and will have to undergo major repairs in order to be lived in again.
Neighbors said the family was not home at the time the fire started. It was actually a landscaping crew next door who detected the smoke. That's when neighbors called 911
"I looked over and I saw the white smoke coming right out from underneath the shingles. And I said no, that's a fire. That's a fire," said Sue Shively, Milton.
The community in Milton is now doing its part to help.
The "Ayala Family Relief Fund" has been set up in order to raise money to purchase food, clothing, and other necessary items that were lost in the fire.
So far, close to $3,000 has been raised.
Until they get back in their home the family is staying at a hotel in Lewisburg.
In addition to the entire Ayala family being safe, another blessing, the family cat and dog also managed to escape harm.
"But they're all alive. Both the dog and the cat were alive. We took the dog into the garage and fed and watered it," said Shively.
Newswatch 16 spoke to the mother of those six children on the phone tonight.
Christina Ayala said she is thankful that her family is safe and feels blessed by the outpouring of support from her community.
The family said they have insurance.