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Two Salt Lake area families picking up pieces after losing everything in house fires

Posted at 5:28 PM, Dec 20, 2022

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — A Taylorsville family has been displaced from their home after a fire burned overnight, just a few days before Christmas.

Chris Ellis grew up in the home that his family moved into in 1990.

While Ellis moved out years ago, his parents and several family members were still living there when the home caught fire late Monday night.

"A neighbor had noticed that there was a fire going in the back, backyard, and so they rushed over and they pounded on the doors and the windows to try to wake everybody up," said Ellis.

He said several family members living in the basement of the home were able to get out first.

However, he said his parents had to jump out of the second-story window of their home.

"Luckily with my mom, a neighbor was there and kind of cradled her head so that she didn't get injured more, and then he tried also helping save my dad," said Ellis. "I feel that there's zero percent chance that my mom would have been alive if that if that neighbor hadn't cradled her head and kept her from hitting the ground."

That neighbor didn't want to go on camera, but he told FOX 13 News he hurt his hand and chest with his heroic efforts but is OK.

In all, Ellis says three of his family members were initially taken to area hospitals. Two of them were still in the hospital as of Tuesday afternoon.

In Holladay, Rikki Curtis is also sifting through the rubble after she says she returned home early Saturday morning to find out that her house had caught fire.

"I don't even have a pair of, like, socks. There's nothing that is salvageable," said Curtis.

While she and her 13-year-old son Davin weren't home at the time, they lost nearly all of their belongings in the fire.

The most heartbreaking loss of all, Curtis says, was her three-year-old French bulldog Enzo, who died before he could get out of the home.

"I'd give anything to have Enzo back," she said.

Curtis, who is a coach with the Junior Jazz, has had several of her friends step up to help.

Krista Parry and Elizabeth Thomas have rounded up the necessities for Curtis and her son, like shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste. They have also started a GoFundMe that has raised more than $25,000 since Saturday.

"It's been, like, totally beyond our imagination as far as, like, how fast we were able to raise money," said Parry.

Thomas got emotional when talking about helping her friend after the devastation the fire caused.

"[Curtis] is a giver, and she has given to this community, and so people are so willing to help her out," she said.

It is that sense of community that Ellis says his family is also feeling after losing their home and all the Christmas presents that were inside.

"Several neighbors had said that they had already kind of pulled together some money and some resources to try to get some Christmas gifts for my nieces and nephews," said Ellis. "We're just very grateful for all the support that our neighbors have given us."

FOX 13 News spoke with Unified Fire Authority Tuesday afternoon. They said the cause of the fires in Holladay and Taylorsville are still under investigation at this time.

A Provo family was also displaced from their home after it caught fire early Tuesday morning.