A Rolla family lost everything they had to a house fire, but found a new hope even in the ashes.
“There’s a lot of memories here, you know, we have Christmases here. All of our families come here for all the birthdays,” Rhea Decoteau said.
On the outside of Fred and Rhea Decoteau’s home looks completely normal, but on the inside, the smell of burned memories is all that remains.
On March 4, the Decoteau’s home caught fire due to an electrical malfunction near the kitchen.
“Our dogs were in the kennel and they just start barking like somebody’s in our house, and Rhea said, ‘Do you hear that?” and I said yeah, so I got up and looked,” Fred said.
Fred did everything he could to get everyone up and out of the house.
“Our 6-year-old son and our 7-year-old niece was with us and they got up as soon as they heard their mom crying. My nephew was downstairs and I said get up here. I went on the second step and thankfully he didn’t have his earphones on playing games or he would have never heard us,” Fred said.
He says they were seconds from another narrative playing out.
“We didn’t have no time for anything. We’re really lucky that we got out when we did,” he said.
But the hero of the night didn’t make it.
The dog who started barking was found in the house weeks later.
“He was under the couch and he was probably the dog that saved us so we still feel guilty and we wish we would’ve left the door propped open but none of us thought of that,” Rhea said.
Thankful for that sacrifice and despite losing everything the Decoteau’s say they still have their faith.
The community even stepped in to show they would be there in the time of need.
“They were calling me right away like, ‘Do you need anything?’ They were bringing us clothes, we didn’t even have shoes, we didn’t have a coat, we didn’t have anything and so all the people just offering something has just been so positive,” Rhea said.
Day by day, slowly trying to get back on their feet, but happy to still be able to tell their story.
A GoFundMe page has been setup for those who want to donate.