CITRONELLE, Ala (WALA) -- A beloved Citronelle family known to help others now needs help themselves.

A fire tore their home Sunday morning destroying everything.

Jeff and Deborah Pippin were not home when it started around 11:30 AM.

They were already at Sunday service at Restoration Church. Their two kids were at camp, due back that night.

“Obviously, they’re hurting,” said Pastor John Blackwell from Restoration Church. “Telling the kids Sunday night was very very hard for them because they have small kids and that was a challenge, but they’re holding up very well.”

The fire gutted the home leaving not much to salvage.

Blackwell says the family knows it could have turned out totally different.

“They’re a tremendous family of faith and they’re a people of faith,” he said. “That’s what’s holding them strong. They have a different perspective because their hope is in the lord, their hope is not in their possessions.”

The Pippins are teachers at Citronelle High School. Deborah is the 2021 Mobile County High School Teacher of the Year, but they recently gained national attention for their giving hearts.

In March, they gave a janitor at the school an SUV after his broke down. Now Principal Randy Campbell says they will get help in their time of need.

“We know that they’ll land back on their feet,” he said. “It’s going to take a while, but we’re all here to support them and we’ll continue to do that through this whole process.”

Blackwell says the Pippins had just gotten back from vacation. A welcome home nobody could have anticipated.

Everyone is alright, including the pets who were still staying with family.

“You don’t want tragedy to hit anybody, but this is one of those things that it really caught them by surprise and I think everybody by surprise,” Blackwell said.

There is already several fundraisers.

Restoration Church is taking gift card and cash donations. It can be dropped off at the church located at 8520 State Street in Citronelle.

Carnage Apparel is also holding a raffle for a gun. The proceeds benefit the Pippin family.

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