Posted by Holly on her Facebook.
I do not even know where to start, other than to say my family and I are so amazed and appreciative of all the kindness and generosity that everyone has shown us in our time of need. This is going to be a very long sad road for us. I plan to get back to everyone in the next few days that has, called, messaged, emailed or texted me. We are currently taking each day as it comes. The loss of our ...babies has hit us hard and we just now are starting to realize the magnitude of our problems. These babies were all whelped in our bed and very much a part of our family and in our hearts. There is not a night that I do not have trouble getting to sleep or wake up in the middle of the night and think about them.
Right now I am trying to keep life as normal as possible for Shea, I sent Shea to the Concord Cluster last weekend so that she did not have to be at the house seeing all the destruction. Shea got to take her mind off all the heartache last weekend when GCH Blue Chi’s Pip-Squeak “Squirt” earned her Silver Grand Champion title and went Best of Variety two out of the three days, one of which was at The Central Carolina Chihuahua Club Supported Entry where she earned her Silver Grand Champion title. Blue Chi’s Lollipop went winners bitch on Friday. Sean saved Squirt and Shea saved Lollipop. Shea will still be working as Russella’s assistant at the shows to keep her life as unaffected as possible. Shea is only 15 and is absolutely incredible and if it was not for her we would have lost almost everyone. Shea is a true hero. Shea went back into the smoke filled house and got out all but one that was in our kitchen. She opened the door to let everyone out and no one got up, usually you have to hold them back so they do not get out. She managed to keep everyone on the big dog bed pillow and pull them out through the breezeway out on to the side patio and driveway. Once she got them out they started to run back in trying to get away from the cold ice mix that was coming down. At that point she had to gather them up and get them into the dog yard so that the gates could be opened to allow the fire department in. The one she could not get, Duchess that was hiding underneath the furniture managed to make it out after the fire department was finished inside. Duchess was put on oxygen and had labored breathing for a few days but she is doing great now.
When I smelt the faint smell of smoke, I went looking to see where it was coming from, my son, Sean had just gotten out the portable heater and I assumed that it was it since it was the first time turned on since last years. I went in to tell him to be careful with it and found that was not where it was coming from. I went looking for it and yelled for Sean, he went down to the dog room and discovered it was smoke filled to the point where you could not see, the fire alarms were going off in the dog room, he tried to let all the dogs out but it was silent, no one came and he could not put his hands on anyone. He opened the window further trying to let more fresh air in. He could not get back to the fire to put it out to buy more time so he could get the dogs out. Sean said he could barely breath and thought several times that he was going to blackout himself. He then ran upstairs falling over doggie gates the whole way hoping he could get the ones out that were in our bedroom. Shea had managed to get the ones in the kitchen out by this time, the fire alarms were now going off on this floor and the whole upstairs 1st and 2nd floor were engulfed in smoke to the point you could not see or breath. It went from no smoke to not being able to see or breath in less than a minute. The power was also out from the fire. Sean managed to save only one that was upstairs on the second floor. He tossed Squirt from the second story down to Sean, our son. Sean kept going back in from the roof after trying to get air to find our retired girls that were in our bedroom. He could not find anyone, no one came when called. Most were later found under the bed.
The fire department finally arrived. We begged them to go in for the dogs, they would NOT. We were told it was NOT A HUMAN LIFE. Sean begged for a respirator so that he could go back in to find the dogs, they threatened to arrest him if he tried to. We were forced to stand outside the property gates and just watch as our babies died and our house burned. We have never felt so helpless in all our lives.
You think that you have your exit plan in place and that it is a good one but until something happens, you will never know. You can guarantee it will not go as planned. When we moved to High Point 4 years ago, the fully finished basement was going to be a temporary situation until we could finish the other building. A few weeks after we moved in, a tornado touched down only two miles from our house and leveled homes for almost a square mile. The thought of our dogs potentially being in a separate building where we could not get to them scared us. We decided that the converted basement was the safest place for them. Only a few minutes went by from the time the initial tornado sirens went off until it touched down. We could not risk not being able to get our babies to safety, this is when we decided they were safest down stairs. The fire started in storage behind them, the door leading out was NOT blocked, the windows were partially open, the smoke alarms was going off but not heard, the dogs never barked. The fire never reached them, it went up and ended burning up through the living room floor and going up from there. If it was not for the blinding, chocking thick smoke that filled every part of the house so quickly I truly think that we could have gotten everyone out.
I tried calling 911 from my touch screen phone, I could not get it to dial. The wet ice mix and the cold air would not allow me, it froze my screen and made it flicker and blink. I had to run to the neighbor’s house across the street to get them to call the fire department.
I pray that no one will ever have to suffer the pain that we feel over the loss of our babies. My family and I are thankful for all the love and support of family friends, dog show friends and just kind people that are in our lives.