8 families see some hope for holidays after fire destroyed homes

by: Torie Wells Updated:

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ROCK HILL, S.C. —

Christmas was ruined for as many as eight families after a massive fire ripped through the Yorktowne Village Apartment complex in Rock Hill just a few days ago. It destroyed belongings, memories and their homes.

Laughter with new toys, a tree standing in the corner and a new home are the things Caroline Melo's family will remember about this Christmas. A fire destroyed her apartment, her brothers apartment right next door and their neighbors apartments.

Over the weekend she was able to move into a new apartment at the Yorktowne Village Apartments; her brother John plans to move into a new apartment there Monday.

"After everyone's outpouring of caring, it's a brand new beginning. It's restored my faith," said John Melo.

Greg Davis also lived in that complex. He feels the same way. He says he hasn't found a new apartment yet but has had friends open their home to him, as long as he needs.

"I've been more worried about my neighbors I'm close with," said Davis.

Right now, he can't fix things for them but finds comfort in knowing others are helping them find a place to stay and are donating things to help rebuild a home.

"I don't even know how to tell them how much we appreciate it," said Davis.

Sometimes there just aren't words. But thanks to kindness from strangers, Caroline's five-year-old daughter Melissa has already received a new bike and some new clothes. The apartment manager says donations from complete strangers are helping keep Santa on schedule.

"I'm very happy and thankful because they helped my family and we are good," said Melissa.

The apartment manager tells Eyewitness News that everyone will have somewhere to stay for Christmas, but moving forward she says the residents will need monetary donations. Some did not have renters insurance.

Eyewitness News is told that of those residents are staying at hotels, some with family, others are moving into another apartment complex that has offered to help.

Monday evening, Outback Steakhouse donated dinner to the victims.

We checked with the fire department and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.