CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A local family out of their home and without six pets after a devastating fire.
Marcie Strickland, the woman who lived in the home near southwest Charlotte, was out celebrating her birthday with friends and family Saturday when electric wiring started a fire.
For Strickland, it was her family's home for more than a decade.
"It's where my children grew up," she says. “I just started screaming, 'oh my God, oh my God. My animals (are) there in the house. Please get them out!'”
The family was all at an escape room about 20 minutes away. But everyone’s pets -- all eight of them -- were inside.
“I don't even remember the drive," Strickland says. "I remember pleading with God to make sure the animals were OK.”
But only two dogs made it out. The house fire killed most of the family’s pets, as three dogs, a cat and a hamster tragically couldn't make it out alive.
“To see my children hurting because they lost their pets," Strickland says. "Who they love like children and I can't do anything to make them better. It's just a hurt you can't even explain.”
But from the darkness of tragedy, the sun did rise. Now, friends and family are stepping up to help.
“I’m absolutely speechless about it,” Strickland says.
Neighbors, friends, even complete strangers quickly pooled together more than $7,500 for the family. And counting.
“They've definitely proven to me that they go to the ends of the Earth with me no matter what," Strickland said of the support.
Even when all that’s left are ashes.
“We had a lot of special memories here,” she said near the home's remains.
Strickland told NBC Charlotte the firefighters who responded to the fire returned later that night to dig graves in the backyard for the pets who did not survive. She said that meant the world to her family.
Those interested in helping Marcie's family can check out their GoFundMe link here: https://www.gofundme.com/qxrg8n-marcies-house-fire-fund
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