Family digs for memories in home destroyed by 117 Fire

Posted at 10:36 PM, Apr 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-20 00:36:03-04

We’re hearing for the first time, from a family who lost their home to the 117 Fire.

Fortunately no one was hurt, but they say it was devastating standing at the edge of their property, watching their home burn to the ground.

"We probably got here 15-20 minutes too late," said one family member.

"The whole house was gone in less than an hour," he added.

They’re hoping not all is lost, though, as family members work to dig up some of their favorite memories.

"I guess it’s just a thing to do to keep our minds busy while we’re mourning," said Colton Emick, who lived at the home.

On Thursday, he and family members dug in one of the corners of the demolished house, in what used to be a closet.

They were in search of valuable jewelry, though the group of men appeared happy to dig up anything–coming across several guns, a deck of cards, a partially burned record album, and what was left of their chandelier.

"We’re just trying to find things that mean something," said Emick.

"Anything that kind of reminds us of the home," he added.

A lot of the big ticket items, like one of their cars, were beyond saving.

But a porcelain nativity scene–which has been in the family for years–managed to survive the flames.

"We found every piece except for the little baby Jesus and the manger," Emick explained.

"We’re all Catholics here and that’s a strong hold of our faith and everything that makes us so strong–and the relationships we have.  So it’s kind of just holding us together."

But after the dust settles, and digging comes to an end, Emick admits the magnitude of this loss is going to sink in.

"It will be on a day off when I’m relaxing and want to go home–and I can’t do that." 

"I’ll come back here, and there will be nothing.  It will probably come this weekend."

An online fundraiser has been set up for the family.  For more information, click here.