A Blount County family stepped out to do some last minute shopping on Christmas Eve. When they came home, they couldn't recognize their house.

A fire destroyed everything the Friendsville family of seven own, including one of their dogs. The family called 911, but firefighters say it was too late.

"I thought Christmas was ruined," said Shannon Fields, 14, "It was horrible to me. I felt like it wasn't real but I realized it was."

Frank Staten knew his family's safety was the most important thing. With everyone accounted for, he and his fiance, Peggy Fields, worried how they were going to replace his kids' Christmas presents.

Meanwhile, what he didn't know was that Blount County sheriff's deputies were doing it for him.

Deputies pulled into Walmart late Christmas Eve to buy the children Christmas gifts, but the store was closing. The deputies found managers closing up. The managers opened the store for them and even pitched in to help.

With a siren escort, the deputies brought Santa Claus to the hotel the family is staying in to deliver the gifts Christmas day.

"If it hadn't been for Walmart and Blount County [sheriff's deputies], my kids wouldn't have had anything for Christmas," Staten said.

Even though they know the coming months will be difficult, the family is grateful to know so many people care.

Hickory Valley Baptist Church in Friendsville is collecting donations for the family. They need everything from furniture to monetary donations.

Pastor Charley Carpenter asks that you drop off donations or call:

3920 West Lamar Alexander Parkway
Friendsville, TN 37772


The cause of the fire is still under investigation.