NAPLES, Fla.- A Golden Gate family is left homeless after a fire ripped through their 2-story home, one week before Christmas.
Firefighters suspect the fire started when a cat knocked over a candle inside the living room of Carol and Andy Willard's home.
Andy was outside with the couple's two dogs when the fire erupted around 9:40 PM on Friday, December 16th. He says in just 25 minutes, all of the contents of their first floor were destoryed.
"Even when you walk around and see everything the way it is... everything has a memory attached to it, even if it's something small," his wife Carol Willard said.
Andy is a child abuse investigator for the Department of Children and Families and Carol is a nurse, so they're not used to being the ones in need of help.
"We're 30 and we're educated an we have careers...physical things don't make your life, but they definitely make it comfortable and we don't have any of that stuff now."
Carol is overwhelmed by the support.
"We had neighbors that couldn't help much, except bring a note saying how sorry they were and offer their home for the holidays."
Contractors estimate the damage to be around $160,000. The couple is now faced with the daunting task of taking inventory of everything, and preparing to rebuild.
"We have to start over and we're trying to find the strength to start building that foundation," Andy said.
The couple hopes if anyone can take something away from their story, that they'll take inventory of what's important in their own lives.
Andy said, "I had a lot. I had a lot more than I would say the majority of people today in this economy and still my wife and i, we wanted to travel we wanted to do this, and now I'd do anything to get it back."