MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Christmas Eve drive was held to help a southwest Miami-Dade family who lost everything when their home was destroyed in a fire on Sunday.
The Rodriguez family, who lived in the home at 15200 SW 184th Street, was able to get out safely before the swift moving fire gutted their home, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Lt. Arnold Piedrahita Jr.
Everything in the home, including Christmas gifts for the couple’s 13-year old son and seven-year old daughter, was destroyed.
“I don’t have words to describe this, but I really want to thank God first of all,” said Haender “Cubita” Rodriguez.
Pastor Luis Couvertier organized the drive at the children’s school – Gladeview Christian School at 12201 SW 26th Street.
Friends, fellow church members and strangers who hear what had happened donated 40 bags of clothes and toys. The family also received new bedding and $3,000 in cash and gift cards.
Rodriguez said he’ll never forget the moment he realized his and his family’s life were in danger.
“Out of nowhere I heard my son screaming ‘fire, fire, fire,’” said Haender “Cubita” Rodriguez, a professional MMA fighter. “I blinked and man, everything was gone!”
Rodriguez helped his 13-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter, who were inside the house, to safety. He also was able to rescue several of the family’s dogs.
Rodriguez’s wife, Aymara, was at work when she says she got an email alert about the fire.
“I started calling the house and there was no answer, so I panicked and started calling and calling my mom and nobody would answer,” said Mrs. Rodriguez.
She then rushed home, where she found her husband and kids safe. Aymara Rodriguez and her husband say they can only take everything from here one step at a time.
Monday, Haendar said he never questioned why the fire happened.
“I never ask God why does this have to happen to us, because I know God has a better tomorrow for us,” Haendar said. “It makes me see life differently.”
If you would like to help but couldn’t make it to the school, you can make a donation to the family through CBS4’s partner Neighbors 4 Neighbors.