Family loses everything to fire, including life-saving medical equipment for 7-year-old

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Gwinnett County family is scrambling after a fire destroyed all of their belongings, including medical supplies needed to keep a 7-year-old boy alive.

Channel 2′s Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Tony Thomas was in Lawrenceville, where it took firefighters an hour to get the blaze on Timber Oak Court under control. By the time they did, everything inside was gone, including Jackson McDonald’s vital medical equipment.

Thankfully, the 7-year-old and his mom and two brothers escaped the flames unharmed, but Jackson suffers from cystic fibrosis. His medicine, chest compression machine and vest were all destroyed.

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“The vest and the machine cost almost $35,000 to $40,000 dollars and insurance is like, ‘You need to wait’,” Ruth McDonald, Jackson’s mother, said. “But he needs them every day. So now we are just praying he doesn’t have an attack.”

The family is now staying in a hotel, which Ruth McDonald described as an unsafe environment for Jackson.

Firefighters believe the flames broke out near the family’s fireplace. So far, the fire has been ruled accidental.

An older brother, Desmond, said he can’t stop thinking about the fire.

“The smoke is still in my hair, so every time I take a shower I just smell it and get flashbacks of it,” Desmond John said. “You aren’t the same.”

The younger boys are dealing with the trauma in their own ways. Jackson said he’s sad about losing his house and his possessions.

“The fire burned my iPad, my Disney watch and my Legos,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s other older brother, 11-year-old Jonathan, has drawn up blueprints of the house he wants next and is even pitching in to help pay for it.

“I’ll give up the rest of my money I’m going to be saving for the new house,” Jonathan McDonald said.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe to try to help the family raise money for medical supplies and for temporary needs and housing.

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