A family lost their dream home, their belongings and their 13-year-old dog in a fire Wednesday morning in Oxford Township.
Lacey, a shepherd-husky mix, perished in the fire that left the split-level, three-bedroom home a total loss.
Firefighters battled the blaze at 5411 Delematre Road for several hours as home-owner Andrew Brown and his son, Gregory, watched from the road.
“I’m kind of numb,” Brown said, holding back tears. “I didn’t expect this at all, especially a few days before Christmas. We have no home.”
Brown, who moved into the house with his son and wife, Kay, just over a year ago, was at work when the fire started.
“This was the last home me and my wife ever purchased,” he said. “This was my dream house.”
Most of the house was destroyed. Only a small part of the garage and a Chevy truck parked in the driveway remained intact as plumes of white smoke swept through burnt remains.
Neighbor Scott Didion called in the fire about 10:30 a.m. when he said he saw smoke coming out of the chimney.
“It started on the west side,” he said. “I looked outside ... and it was totally in flames.”
Brown said a wood burner inside the house was operating at the time.
“It was like a towering inferno,” said Dennis Jaeckin, of Tenn., who was staying at a relative’s house next door.
About 22-30 firefighters from Milan, Groton and Perkins township fire departments and the Huron River Joint Fire District battled the blaze.
Workers from Huron County Emergency Management Agency, Ohio Edison, the Erie County Sheriff’s office and North Central EMS also assisted at the scene.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The home is considered a total loss, with damage estimated at $180,000, according to Assistant Chief Jim Jesberger of the Milan Township Fire Department.
The family plans to stay with relatives as they try to rebuild their lives.
“I’m completely devastated,” Brown said. “I can only hope Lacey was sleeping when it happened.”
Anyone wishing to offer donations to help the family restart can do so by calling 419-626-8812.