LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - A veteran in Loudoun County lost his belongings in a house fire but is grateful for the firefighters who saved the lives of his four furry friends.
Retired U.S. Army Sergeant Vainuupo Avegalio was getting ornaments for his Christmas tree during the fire. 911 dispatchers got the call around 2:40 p.m. on Monday about smoke pouring out of the home on Pipers Brook Lane in Purcellville.
Images show the incredible work of firefighters saving the lives of four dogs who were stuck in the home.
"I wouldn't know what to do if I lost my dogs," Avegalio says. "You know, the house is repairable, but I couldn't get my dogs back."
According to the Loudoun County Fire Marshal's office, there was a malfunction on a kitchen countertop, leaving a mess behind in addition to more than $150,000 in damages.
The charity HeroHomes built the house for Avegalio who was once homeless. The ribbon-cutting was in May and now he says he is having to start all over.
Avegalio's neighbor Anna Fabian is hoping to raise $35,000 on GoFundMe to help with his $28,000 vet bills for the dogs.
"Considering everything he has done for us and our country and the person he is and his mission in life," says Fabian.
"His entire life is dedicated to helping other people and I think that’s an incredible example for all of us and the more that we can help him through this time, the more good he’ll be able to do."
Avegalio spends his time helping people from committing suicide through his art and poetry. He says that's what has helped him not become a statistic, especially during a difficult time like this.
To donate to the GoFundMe page, click here.