A young Ottawa family says it has received strong support after losing almost everything they own in a townhouse fire last weekend that left a dozen people homeless.

Samantha Taylor lived at a community-housing unit at 257 Booth St. near Elm Street with her partner, Josh Loney, and her three children — Carson, an 18-month-old boy; Kaydence, a three-year-old girl; and Carson, a five-year-old boy.

Samantha Taylor's kids homeless after fire

Taylor's three children from left to right: Carson, 5, Donnie, 18 months, and Kaydence, 2. (Photo supplied by Samantha Taylor)

Taylor said they escaped safely when smoke began to fill the apartment as the flames spread in the unit below. Her son Carson had woken up and lain on the floor, covering his head with a blanket, as firefighters had taught him at school last year.

“I was even told that if I wasn't awake we probably wouldn't have made it out, which is very scary to think of,” said Taylor, who is currently living with her brother-in-law in Vanier while her children stay with relatives in nearby Bancroft, Ont.

Wedding dress, rings saved

Taylor said they lost almost everything in the near half-million-dollar fire, but she did manage to save her dress that she is set to wear for her wedding next October.

The couple also saved their wedding rings and some furniture.

Taylor, who lived in the building for about 18 months, has received support from the Salvation Army and Canadian Red Cross, who responded the day of the fire. What came after was not expected, she said, as neighbours and strangers offered and collected donations.

“(It’s) definitely been overwhelming, the amount of help we've had,” she said. “(There have been) a lot of tears of joy, we look at it more as a blessing rather than a curse."

Samantha Taylor, homeless after Booth Street fire

Taylor says she hopes to find a new house by Dec. 1 so she can be reunited with her children. (Photo supplied by Samantha Taylor)

Carson’s school and a nearby convenience store are collecting donations, Taylor added.

She has also used money that was saved up for her honeymoon and hopes to find a new house by Dec. 1 so she can be reunited with her three children.

Taylor also said she hopes to help the others who lost their homes in the fire, if there are extra donations she can’t use.