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Neighbors provide clothes, gifts after fire destroys Briarhill home

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By Tracy Harris

"Sometimes the most unexpected tragedy can lead to unexpected blessings,” members of the McManus family wrote in a recent thank-you letter to neighbors in Briarhill Estates.

On Dec. 10, a fire in the master bathroom spread through the attic of the McManus home on Cambridge Drive, destroying the attic and damaging much of the residence.

Homeowners Christian and Amy McManus and their three children were home when the blaze started and all escaped without injury. But, many of their belongings were ruined.

Neighbors rallied around the family. Resident Kelly Jones said soon after the fire, neighbors emailed clothing sizes and a list of other needs for the family.

“After a week, there was another email saying ‘stop’ — they had too much already,” Jones said.

With Christmas just around the corner, neighbors circulated another email — this one a wishlist.

Christian and Amy McManus were shocked.

“We experienced an unexpected loss of many things,” Amy wrote. “And we received a true gift that has humbled us and shown a family of five that they are blessed beyond measure.”

They were touched their neighbors — many of whom the family has never met face-to-face — pulled together during an already stressful time of year.

“The smiles on all of our children’s faces because of your energies, and ours, is something I can truly say we will never forget,” Amy wrote.

Although a complete loss, the family is rebuilding the home and invited neighbors to stop by so they can thank them in person. 

The McManuses estimate it will take about seven months to rebuild the home and are currently renting a home on Clore Lane.