By Michael Abeyta

THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – On the first day of Thanksgiving week, a group of volunteers at Tarver Elementary in Thornton had a lot of thanking to do. They were out Sunday afternoon collecting gift cards for three families who are suddenly homeless.

(credit: CBS)

“We want to spread the love and let them know that we are there for them, and we don’t want them to have to worry about anything as they start to rebuild their lives,” said event organizer Lisa Dietel.

On Friday flames engulfed homes on Columbine Circle in Thornton. Miraculously everyone inside escaped without injury, but the three families have lost everything. New video from a neighbor’s Ring doorbell camera shows the massive flames coming from the home.

(credit: Dave Record)

“These are families that are part of our community,” said Dietel.

(credit: CBS)

That’s why she decided to spend her birthday collecting gifts for them. She saw the fire with her own two eyes and the devastation it wrought, so she rounded up her friends and coworkers and spread the news that on Sunday they would be collecting gift cards for the families at Tarver.

The community did not let them down. The till filled quickly as Coloradans opened their hearts and wallets.

“We’re very close knit,” said one woman as she dropped off a gift card. Her son added, “It’s awesome because we like our families and everyone. Friends and community.”

Dietel never expected to get so much support, but she is happy she did because at least now those families affected by the fire will have something to help them get back on their feet.

“It’s just amazing to see this outpouring of support from our community,” she said.

Michael Abeyta