COCKE COUNTY, Tenn — A family of volunteer firefighters are rising from the ashes after losing their home to a fire on Tuesday night.

Army veteran and volunteer firefighter Mike Rivera had just left home to pick up his wife from work and got a call he couldn't believe--his house was on fire and his two sons were at home.

Now, the community is coming together to make sure this family has a place to stay and is OK during the holidays.

Memories and faith are all that's left of the Rivera family's Newport home now.

They are thankful things like their now-charred family Bible are still with them.

Time stopped on Tuesday as 14-year-old Johnathan was making dinner
and 10-year-old Nathan sat on the couch.

"I heard a loud pop and it sounded like a flame thrower," Johnathan Rivera remembered. "So I peeked my head around the corner and I see a fireball spit out of my mom's bedroom door."

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He grabbed his brother, four dogs and got out.

"Then I went next door and called 911 and called my dad," Johnathan Rivera explained.

This is something no one thought would happen, since nearly the whole family volunteers at Grassy Fork Fire Department.

"I'm looking at my house, it's on fire, I mean it's not supposed to be my house, I'm supposed to help other people's houses, not mine," Mike Rivera said.

Because of that fire knowledge, though, everyone survived.

"He's my hero, absolutely my hero," Mike Rivera smiled at his son. "If it wasn't for John we would be at a funeral today, not here talking to you."

At first the firefighters who responded with Cocke County Fire Department had no idea the house belonged to one of their own.

"He made the comment to me that he's used to being on the other side of this, not on this side. Not on the side where your house actually burns," Ricky Gregg, a lieutenant at CCFD said.

It sits a little different when the boot is on the other foot.

"We do as much as we can for anybody, but this is just a little different, you know," Gregg assured.

The Riveras know Christmas won't be the same without the house they once called home.

"But the memories are in our heart," Mike Rivera explained. "It's not the sticks and sheet rock, it's our family."

The Red Cross and all of Cocke County have pitched in to help. The family says what they really need right now is prayers. They also hope people will make donations or help out with their own local volunteer fire departments.

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