A family who lost everything in a house blaze have humbled by their nine-year-old neighbour who raised funds to help — by serving homemade lemonade.
Kayley Cross, 10, was devastated when she saw flames destroy the home of Brooke and Josh Rummonds while they raced to safety with their young sons.
The fire, which started in bins outside, destroyed all their possessions and two days on set up a stall outside their homes taking donations for homemade lemonade.
Sat opposite the remains of the Rummonds’ home for two days, she sold 100 cups in return for donations, raising $1,000.
People drove from far and wide to donate cash, after hearing about dedicated Kayley, from Fresno, California.
The Rummonds are being helped by friends and family – but said Kayley’s thoughtful gesture touched them the most.
Kayley said: “We know our neighbours really well. They live right across the street.
“I sat on the front step and watched the fire, people stood outside, and firefighters.
“I watched the whole thing, and wanted to help in some way.
“I had already planned to raise money for a dog shelter.
“But after the fire, I wanted to donate that money to our neighbours instead.
“I went out with lemonade, and my mum gave me around 100 cups.
“We didn’t expect so many people to donate so much money.”
Brooke, a saleswoman, added: “It was just so horrible having to watch our beautiful home – the memories we’ve made – go up in flames.
“But as we turned around, we saw our neighbours come out their homes and instinctively rally to our side and look after us.
“They’ve been so wonderful to us.
“I guess that spirit of friendship was summed up in Kayley, who is a wonderful girl.”
Brooke, 36, and her husband Josh, 38, were tucking sons Jack, one, and Cam, one month old, into bed when the smoke detector beeped, on June 24, at around 6pm.
She and Josh ran across the landing and saw flamed coming out of an air conditioning vent, so grabbed the kids, two dogs and ran outside, calling 911.
The City of Fresno Fire Department, City of Clovis Fire Department and County of Fresno Fire Department rushed to the fire with 15 trucks and 40 firefighters.
But the fire hydrant across from the house failed, she said, and caused a 15 minute delay in getting water on the fire.
Brooke said the fire department reckon the fire started in one of the garbage bins, igniting the attic and coming through the air conditioning vent.
Once the fire was in the attic, it spread fast and the fire department apparently told Brooke and Josh “they quickly realised their couldn’t do anything to save our house”.
While the firefighters set to work protecting the neighbours’ homes, the “whole neighbourhood” came out to take care of the Rummonds.
And two days later Kayley set up her stall, serving dozens of cups between 3pm and 8pm, after school.
The Rummonds, who lost everything in the fire which caused over $1m in damage, said they were humbled.
Brooke, who said the family are staying with friends while they find a new home, said:
“It’s going to be hard for a while, but we’re so humbled by these wonderful people who’ve come together for us in such a big way.”