CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Decades of memories, gone in just minutes.
That's the reality for one Savannah family after a house fire broke out Sylvester Drive in the Cloverdale neighborhood over the weekend. But the fire impacted more than just one family.
Charred furniture and other items are out on the lawn and the entire house is gutted. But this home was filled with a lot more than what you can see.
"This house is basically everything to us. This is really all we had," said Nakaysha Washington, grandmother lost house in fire.
Washington grew up calling this place home. The house belongs to her grandmother, Kayola McGill, who has lived there for the past 50 years.
"She raised three generations: her eight kids, grandkids, great-grandkids," said Washington.
81-year-old McGill was asleep when the fire started around 6 p.m. Sunday. Her nephews woke her up in time to get out safely, but it was too late to save most of the belongings inside.
"You know, you just never think something like this would happen to you, especially not to my grandma. My grandma has been staying in this neighborhood for so long. Everybody knew her. If you didn't know Ms. K, you obviously lived under a rock, like seriously," said Washington.
She has a point. Everyone I talked to in the neighborhood Monday, young and old, said McGill is a fixture in this community.
"Like I said, she looked after all the kids," said Christopher Blake, neighbor.
Blake has lived across the street for 40 years. He said McGill is a grandmother to all the neighborhood children.
"Most of the kids around here came around when the fire started. And most of them were talking about how she helped raised them and looked out for them and kind of kept them straight, I guess you could say," said Blake.
"She's that parent. One of those old school parents that always looks out for everyone's kids, but she's also going to tell you what's right and what's wrong. That's the type of person Ms. McGill is, and she's very loveable," said Andrea Blake, neighbor.
The Red Cross is assisting the family, for now Ms. McGill is staying at a hotel. The family doesn't know where they'll go from here, but they are thankful they at least have each other this holiday season.
If you would like to help, contact the Red Cross at 912.651.5349. Or you could donate to the GoFundMe page, click here.