HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Dec. 5 (UPI) -- A Grinch-themed float bound for an Alabama parade never made it to the route thanks to a real-life Grinch and an ill-fated cigarette butt.
The Whoville parade float, created by members of the Lost and Found Pets of Huntsville/Madison County group on Facebook, was on its way to appearing in Thursday's Huntsville Christmas Parade, which had a Dr. Seuss theme, when a cigarette butt flicked from a passing vehicle caused the float to catch fire.
The float, created from about $1,000 worth of donated materials, quickly erupted into flames.
"Somebody flicked a cigarette out and it landed in the straw on our float and burned it to the ground," Jackson told WHNT-TV. "My husband was driving and I was driving behind him when I noticed the smoke, and other people did too. Luckily, several people came and helped us unload some of the stuff. We were able to salvage some of it, but the house we worked so hard on, that we were so proud of went up in smoke."
"We had built a full-sized Who house with lights inside and windows that you could see trees inside. We had a smoking chimney. We worked so hard," Jackson said.
She said the float had taken volunteers about three months to build.
The group put their salvaged materials onto an empty trailer to accompany costumed volunteers on the parade route.
Jackson said the group had been aiming to win the parade's $300 top prize so they could use the money to pay and neuter local dogs and cats.
A GoFundMe page set up to help the group raise funds after the parade fire managed to raise more than ten times the prize money -- $3,116 as of Monday.