UNION CITY (KPIX 5) – After a house fire gutted a Union City family’s home and burned all of their presents less than two days before Christmas, neighbors and firefighters have stepped up to ensure that their festivities could still go on.

According to authorities, a two-alarm fire broke out at a home on San Pablo Way on Monday afternoon. Sixteen people were staying at the home for the holidays, many of them children.

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After the fire, the Alameda County Fire Department placed a last-minute request as part of their countywide toy drive. Donations would go to the family forced out of their home from the fire. The department holds a drive every year, with hundreds of gifts going to needy families.

“Especially when we have a traumatic event like a house fire, kids don’t understand sometimes what happens. So we’re just trying to put some smiles on their faces for Christmas,” Jason Fuller of the Alameda County Fire Department told KPIX 5.

As firefighters went to work buying more presents, they also spread word to a community willing to help. Kenneth Stang’s family was among those who pulled gifts out of their own piles, giving to a family they do not even know.

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“Just helping out, that’s the biggest thing,” Stang said. “Paying it forward, always doing the right thing and being there when people need you the most.”

No one was injured from the fire. The family is staying with relatives for now and will spend Christmas together. The gifts are expected to be delivered sometime on Christmas Eve.

Firefighters have not determined the cause of the fire.

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