GRATIS, Ohio (WDTN) - The New Year began in tragedy for a Preble County family, who lost their home in an early morning fire Wednesday.
Smoke billowed from the Jackson family home on Pleasant Valley Road in Gratis Township while the homeowner talked to 2News about the accident.
"We lost everything," said Calvin Jackson, while huddled up in a blanket. "Everything is gone."
Calvin and his wife escaped the blaze unharmed, but with only the clothes on their backs and three dogs in tow.
"I thank God for my dogs," said Jackson.
The Jackson's dogs and smoke detectors woke Calvin and his wife from their sleep. He said at that time the house was on fire and full of smoke. Calvin blames himself for the fire.
"Around 1-1:30 a.m. I put a couple logs on the fire in our fireplace and went to bed,"said Jackson.
Fire officials confirmed the blaze started in the back of the home, where the family's fire place was located. The rural location of the house and freezing temperatures proved difficult for the nearly 40 firefighters who took part in putting out the blaze. Six to seven departments responded, many with tankers carrying water because the nearest fire hydrant was several miles from the home.
The Jackson's, now homeless, watched the tragedy unfold from next door. Calvin, who is disabled and was not able to walk in the snow, said his neighbor carried him to safety.
"I don't think I would have got away if it hadn't been for him," said Jackson. "He is a real hero."
The Red Cross is assisting the family. If you would like to help by making a monetary donation, contact the Dayton office at (937) 222- 6711.
Watch the full story on 2News at 5 p.m.
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