RIVERVIEW, FLA.- — A 34-year-old cancer patient and her family had their home destroyed by a fire.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said the fire happened last Tuesday. The fire was ruled "unintentional." Firefighters found flames shooting from the stove.
Andrew Armstrong, his wife, Carla, and their two children were not home at the time.
"It's a real eye-opener to be reminded of the things that are important in life, you know. We may have lost everything in the fire that we've owned, but we still have each other," said Andrew Armstrong.
The family's two dogs and three cats suffered smoke inhalation and did not make it.
"It's just adding another thing onto the plate, a full plate that we already had. I mean it's devastating, the most devastating part is that we lost our animals," said Carla Armstrong.
Carla Armstrong has been battling breast cancer since May. She needs chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
"I've still been going to work and stuff, but reduced hours and I think really honestly you feel the worst the first few days and then you start to feel better and then that's when it's time for treatment again. You get knocked back down," said Carla.
Carla and her husband are both healthcare workers. She works in a lab. He is a nurse practitioner who treats COVID-19 patients.
"We knew that with Carla's diagnosis, we were reminded what’s important and this really kind of drove it home, it could always be worse," said Andrew Armstrong.
The community started a GoFundMe page to help the family with medical bills and costs associated with the fire.
"It’s a little overwhelming. I don’t know how to reach all the people that have donated," said Carla.
"We are overwhelmed by the generosity, not only the monetary support, but the thoughts, the prayers, the people opening their homes to us. It's really moving. It really means a lot" said Andrew.
For more information on how to help the Armstrong family, visit their GoFundMe page.