Every year on Christmas morning, Victoria Dean and her family wait until everyone wakes up before gathering around the tree and exchanging gifts, but this year is different.
The South Florida family's car was filled with Christmas gifts when burned it up on the side of the highway Friday night. The fire left them without gifts, and without any form of transportation.
“We were sick to our stomach," Dean said. "I wanted to cry but I didn't have the energy to.”
Dean said she was asleep in the car when her sister had to pull over to the side of the road because she heard a roaring sound.
Smoke began coming out of the car and moments later it burst into flames, Dean said.
“I grabbed whatever I could and left,” she said.
By the time firefighters put out the flames, the car was destroyed and so was everything inside -- including Christmas gifts, cash and clothes.
Fortunately, Dean and her sister got out safely and she had some gifts on layaway at Walmart that she was still able to put under the tree.
But now, the Pompano Beach family is without a car they all shared - their only form of transportation to get to work, and take the kids to school.
The family has set up a gofundme page to help them raise money for a new car.
Nevertheless, they’re keeping a positive attitude, knowing it could have been much worse.
“It was very hard. I mean I went out, I spent money, but those are material things, we can always replace those. My life is not replaceable,” Dean said.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.