Livingston family loses everything days before Christmas in house fire

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Not much is left of Araceli Casillas' belongings.

Only a couple of pictures and some household items survived the inferno that burned through her Livingston home Thursday.

Every Christmas gift she wrapped for her five daughters went up in flames along with their school electronics.

"My children were looking forward to their gifts, and I don't know what to tell them or what to do," said Casillas.

The fire broke out at 1 am. Everyone was asleep except Casillas' 2-month-old daughter, who woke the family up with her cries.

When Casillas opened her eyes, all she saw was smoke.

"I touched my nose and we all had the inside of our noses completely black from inhaling smoke," she said.

She and her husband rushed to get their daughters out of the house.

"Very scary, I got up and ran to the doors and I told them to run, just run," she said.

As they escaped, Casillas saw the fire was coming from the restroom.

According to her, the home had multiple electrical issues which she believes caused the fire.

She says the day prior, her landlord had finally sent someone to inspect the house.

"It looks like everything got destroyed," she said. "Cherished memories of my mom, clothes and pictures and now they are all gone."

Casillas' neighbor, Beth Grigsby, said she needed to do something to help her friend. She started collecting donations and the community came together.

"The community just stepped up," said Grigsby. "They brought clothes and blankets and baby items."

Officials with the Merced County Fire Department continue to investigate the cause of the fire.

Meanwhile, Casillas says she's just happy her family made it out safe.

A GoFundMe account has been setup to help with expenses.
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