LAWSON, Mo. -- The holiday season wasn't a joyous time for everyone in the metro.
One family in Ray County had to watch while their home of 13 years burned to the ground, and it happened just a few days before Christmas.
Even now, they're digging out from the ashes, and trying to put their lives back together.
Clint and Jessica Briant will never forget the date and time. It was the Saturday before Christmas, when an electrical fire broke out in their garage outside Lawson, Missouri, and their world was turned upside down.
"My wife wakes everyone up," Clint Briant said. "She'd heard a boom come out of the garage and seen some flashing on the front of the van."
"I got up and realized this whole end of our house was on fire," Jessica Briant said.
It didn't take long before the entire home was burning. The fire left the family home as a pile of ash. Flames destroyed everything -- including their family plans for Christmas, including the Christmas tree and all their gifts. Clint says his great-grandfather had built this house, and he and Jessie had lived here since they got married 13 years ago.
"You can't do anything but watch it burn at that point," Clint added. "It was out of control. We knew there was no grabbin' the fire extinguisher or hose or anything."
Word of the fire got around Lawson quickly. Donations started to pour in for the Briants, who say they can't remember everyone who's extended a hand.
Their church helped spread the word. Pastor Homer Davidson at Lawson United Methodist Church was one of many who circulated news of the Briants' needs. The community responded with everything from clothing and food to emotional rescue.
"This is a small town," Pastor Davidson said. "When something happens, everyone is there. Doesn't matter if it's family or friends. Some of the people here didn't know Clint or Jessie, but they still supported 'em."
"Angels amongst us for sure," Jessica said. "It's not one person. It's been so many that have forever touched our lives. They've been strong for us when we've been at our weakest point."
The family says they'll need the support as they begin to rebuild their world. The Briants say you are welcome to email them at this address if you'd like to help during their time of need.
To email them: firstname.lastname@example.org