Firefighters Embody Christmas Spirit to Help Rebuild Family's Lives

Rialto firefighters go on shopping spree to outfit new home for family whose house burned down

By Gadi Schwartz and Jason Kandel
|  Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013  |  Updated 7:08 AM PDT
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Firefighters from the Rialto Fire Department, saddened by the fact that a family lost everything when their home was burned to ashes, brought the joy of Christmas to the Montanos, who now have a Christmas tree fully loaded with decorated branches. The firefighters even took the family on a shopping spree to outfit their new home. Gadi Schwartz reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.

Firefighters from the Rialto Fire Department, saddened by the fact that a family lost everything when their home was burned to ashes, brought the joy of Christmas to the Montanos, who now have a Christmas tree fully loaded with decorated branches. The firefighters even took the family on a shopping spree to outfit their new home. Gadi Schwartz reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.

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Members of the Rialto Fire Department were the embodiment of the Christmas spirit on Tuesday when they bestowed a family who lost everything in a fire with a Christmas tree, Christmas dinner, new home furnishings, new home appliances, and gifts.

The firefighters loaded up the family in fire trucks and took them on a $5,000 shopping spree at Walmart and Home Depot to outfit a new place to rent.

"The crew today is the crew that responded to that fire a week ago," said Matt Payne with the Rialto Fire Department. "It's like we are still on the call helping them out."

An electrical fire ripped through the family’s home at 1:30 a.m. on Thursday. The family credits fire alarms with saving their lives.

Everything burned -- toys, clothing, even all their money from a paycheck they had just cashed at the bank.

"They lost everything, the house was gone," Payne said.

READ: Police Offer Holiday Surprise for 8-Year-Old Boy With Terminal Illness

And as the firefighters helped set up their new home, the Montano kids shared how they feel.

"I was telling my mom that I was thinking about being a fire girl," Aaliyah Montano said.

Just last week she thinking about what she wanted for Christmas. Now she's just glad that her family survived.

"I wanted a laptop but I don't care if I have it," Aaliyah said, "because I have my family and that's the only thing that matters."

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