Winona puppeteer picking up pieces after New Years Eve house fir - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Winona puppeteer picking up pieces after New Years Eve house fire

WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) -

The Winona community is coming together to help one of its own get back on his feet after a house fire over the holiday weekend.

He brought smiles to many over the years and now, others are trying to repay the favor.

"It was like a raging inferno this glowing thing on the front porch," Robert Armstrong, homeowner and area performer, said.

It was not the way the Armstrongs ever envisioned ringing in the new year.

"I was planning on going to a concert in the cities," Armstrong said.

The fire broke out as they were having breakfast.

Armstrong and his two kids were able to get out of the house quickly and without injury.

But they weren't able to rescue Armstrong's works of art, his puppets.

"Part of me wants to be like, okay, they're probably okay, they're in the back of the house, but who knows," Armstrong said. "Those are all things I made my self and have been preforming with them for 20 years."

All hand-made, the puppets are a staple at local events and festivals, where he goes by Doctor Bob.

As a performer, he's made many friends who now have his back.

"The music community there is kinda stepping forward to help me raise some money, because we gotta start over from scratch," Armstrong said.

And a Go Fund Me page has already brought in more than $7,000 for the Armstrongs.

"I'm so grateful for everyone stepping forward to help me out," Armstrong said. "It's really humbling, it's not easy to be in a position of want."

If you would like to donate to the Go Fund Me, you can find it here.

Armstrong was originally supposed to perform at Ed's No-Name Bar on Friday, January 5th.

Now, that performance has be a benefit concert where people will be able to donate money and goods to help him and his family get back on their feet.

You can find more information for that, here.

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