Pleasantville, New Jersey family rings in 2021 in new home rebuilt by community after fire

PLEASANTVILLE, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Jose Morales and his family are excited to ring in the new year in their new home. It's been a labor of love after they lost everything in a raging fire.

"It feels like we're a family again. Being back in a home and doing things a family should be doing. Especially on holidays," Morales said.

In 2017, Morales and his young son barely made it out alive from flames in their Pleasantville, New Jersey home.

They had an issue with insurance, which didn't cover most of the damage.

The family was forced to live in a trailer, but then a perfect stranger heard what happened.

"I surround myself with good people, and I knew they would jump in right away," said Jim Burke, the owner of JB Hvac Inc. in Mays Landing.

Burke rallied his friends from all different trades. They got several local companies to donate labor costs and supplies.

The community rebuilt the Morales family's new home in three years.

Pleasantville Police Chief Sean Riggin said, "We couldn't be more appreciative of Jim and his contractors, and more impressed by the resiliency of a family who was able to get through this."

The Morales family looks forward to creating new memories in their new home.

They officially moved in at the end of October, and they say 2021 is looking bright.

"I learned you can't take things for granted," daughter Ellena Morales said.

Eric Morales said, "We're alive, we're together, and we have a home."
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.