By Bob Allen

SCOTT TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – A Scott Township family’s house was badly damaged while they were attending a Christmas Eve church service Thursday night.

But the family is still thankful on this Christmas, even though many of their possessions were destroyed.

When Chris Brown showed up at his parents’ house on Bartola Street in Scott Township on Christmas Eve, he saw smoke shooting from the roof and fire trucks lining the street. He received an emergency call from his father who had just arrived home from church.

“My mom stayed to sing in the choir, and my dad got home from the first service, pulled the car in the garage and heard the smoke detectors going off upstairs,” Brown said. “By the time he got up, I guess, the whole top floor was filled with smoke.”

A fire had broken out on the first floor. Flames spread quickly, causing extensive damage, ruining the family’s plans for the Christmas holiday.

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“It’s pretty extensive, everything on the first floor is gone,” Brown said. “Only thing that wasn’t really hurt was another car in the garage downstairs.”

Any part of the interior that wasn’t destroyed by flames took heavy smoke and water damage, including a number of Christmas gifts. Brown praised neighbors and Scott Township firefighters offering to help. He’s worried about the affect the fire will have on his parents.

“If I could switch places with them, I would,” Brown said. “They’re a little bit older, not a good time to be starting over. I’m just glad everybody’s safe.”

The family was planning to celebrate Christmas dinner at their home, but obviously those plans will change. And while the fire does put a damper on the Christmas celebration, they can still celebrate the fact that they have each other.