This is what is left of the house my niece and her family were living in.
We believe they all got out alive because a very special angel was protecting them. This angel.
This is my nephew Danny. He was killed by a drunk driver in December 2004, one week after he celebrated his 16th birthday and one week before Christmas. I have never seen a community come out in support of a family before like theirs did. There were 1,500 people at the wake. Donations poured in from all over to cover the funeral expenses.
But the wound of loosing him has not and will never heal for my family. It is a hole in our souls which will be there forever. Thankfully in the wee hours of Saturday morning, he was protecting his family.
It was a 130 year old house, with very dry wood that went up lightening fast. The family of four decided Friday night to have a camp out in the living room, the room in the middle of the photo below. The kids' bedrooms were on the right.
This is what is left of the kitchen.
The roof collapsed.
The front part was the original house. The middle kitchen part was the 1st addition. The parents slept in the back bedroom, on the right below inside the door. This was the last addition to the house. If everyone had been sleeping in their bedrooms, there was no way my niece and her husband would have been able to get to the kids and get them out safely.
They don't know why they decided to camp in the living room that night but we are all very happy they did.
The cause of the fire? ARSON! Someone lit a fire under the covered porch that used to exist across the front of the house and the flames raced quick. Thankfully my niece heard the smoke detector in the basement go off, she thought it was her alarm waking her up for work, she looked out on the porch and saw the orange glow. They scooped up the kids and ran out the kitchen door.
My family was so very lucky that another horrible tradegy was averted. Danny knew that we didn't need to lose anyone else and we would have never been able to ever recover from that. So he did the only thing he could, he made sure his sister woke in time.
Today I am kissing and hugging my kids a lot more and thanking God for my blessings and for keeping my niece and her family safe from harm.