FAIRVIEW PARK, OH (WOIO) - The Gardner family is trying to pick up the pieces after losing almost all of their belongings in a fire.
Last month, Chantel Gardner's house caught fire in Avon Lake. Her fiance came home as it was burning.
"He returned home, he found the house on fire, he ran through the house, he tried to collect as many animals as possible," said Gardner.
No people were hurt but the family lost 12 pets.
The Gardner family is no stranger to tragedy. Chantel's daughter, Jazmine Gardner, is a cancer survivor.
Jazmine's favorite cat, Salem, died from smoke-related injuries. Chantel says that cat comforted her daughter as she battled cancer.
"That was her best friend. So now her best friend's gone and it's heartbreaking because they are like family," she said.
Chantel and her two daughters are living with her grandparents as investigators work on the case. In the meantime, family, friends and the community have been helping them get by. But she admits, they still need so much. The girls needs clothes and toys, anything to make them feel better.
"I'm a strong girl doing the best I can for the girls especially but the animals are the most heartbreaking." she said. "You know we just go on with our daily lives in between working and trying to make phone calls and trying to get back to normal with the children, you know a family."
If you'd like to help the family, click here.
You can also make monetary donations to the McIntyre-Gardner Fire Fund at any First Federal Lakewood location or at the main branch located at 20425 Center Ridge Road, Rocky River, OH 44116.