WATERFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Friends, neighbors and total strangers came together in Waterford Township to help a family of nine that lost everything in a fire.
This weekend, Mark and Marie Tabar's house in Waterford Township went up in flames. The couple and their seven children lost everything.
But as their house sits in ruins, donations are pouring in to the family, which dedicates itself to helping others.
The charred remains of the Tabar house don't tell the story of how the family members barely got out alive.
The lakefront rental on Huntoon Lake is a total loss, including singed Christmas ornaments, a melted camera and destroyed clothing.
The Tabars climbed out just before the smoke and flames overcame them, according to officials.
Mark and Marie Tabar said they couldn't believe how quickly the fire forced everyone out, in particular their 18-year-old daughter, Abbie.
"My younger daughter, who was 12, she passed out because the smoke and heat were going up the stairs," Mark Tabar said. "So my 18-year-old daughter dragged her back up the stairs."
"I had to open the window because I couldn't breathe and I'm just so thankful my daughters were able to get out just in time," Marie Tabar said. "God was really watching."
The Tabars spent three years as missionaries in Thailand and moved back to Waterford Township.
Brandon High School is holding numerous fundraisers, including one at Thursday night's basketball game and a GoFundMe page that's already raised over $20,000.
"I can't thank everyone enough," Marie Tabar said. "It's just been overwhelming, and to see the GoFundMe page, the people we've been in contact with in the past 20 years and even students I've only known for perhaps a semester or year, they're still high school seniors contributing to that. It's been such a blessing.
"There are even people we haven't talked to in years who are bringing us stuff, so it's just a blessing and we know God's going to take care of us."
The family has just now started to be able to think about looking to find a new house.
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