Fire destroys family's piece of the American Dream

Fire destroys family's piece of the American Dream »Play Video
Fire destroyed the family's home and belongings.

DRAIN, Ore. - A family returned home from a funeral in Washington state this week to find their lives reduced to ashes.

"My uncle had died the week before Christmas, and the funeral was right before that and we were going to spend time with the family," Reese Kersteter said.

A fire destroyed all of the Kersteter-Johnson family's photographs and clothes as it burned through their piece of the American Dream on December 29.

Their two cats and an iguana died, too.

Kersteter said the family of 4 bought the house and moved there in June 2010. It was his and Ginger Johnson's first home together.

"This was our first home. It's really all we have. I mean everything we have is there," he said.

The fire destroyed their home and most of their possessions.

"I don't know how to even begin," Kersteter said of sorting through the ashes. "Pitchfork and shovel, I guess. How do you begin a list of everything that you've had from my personal baby blanket, or wedding photos, everything - I mean everything."

Now friends and the community are banding together to help the family rebuild. A friend has established a relief fund through US Bank under the name "Ginger Johnson."