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Grantsville couple barely escapes fire that destroyed home, gets unexpected surprise

Posted at 10:27 PM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-06 10:29:50-04

GRANTSVILLE, Utah — A couple is recovering after a fire burned their Grantsville home down to the frame in minutes over the weekend, while they escaped with only the clothes on their backs.

Two days later, they're finding reasons to feel thankful, instead of hopeless.

"We lost everything that we had in our house," Rebecca Hammond said, of Saturday's fire. She said she was in the basement doing laundry, and her husband Rodney was upstairs sleeping.

Suddenly, someone began to pound on their front door.

"[I] ran to the door and they said, 'Your house is on fire!'" Rebecca recounted. "And I hollered at Rod — he was coming down those stairs and right behind him, the fire was following him all the way down."

Rod awoke to the door pounding and said when he came out of the room, he could see the fire spreading from the kitchen.

The couple ran outside and said a fireball engulfed their home. Firefighters were no match for the high winds.

They said it only took about 20 minutes before everything was gone.

Snoball, the couple's cat, was nowhere to be found. Rodney said he'd last seen Snoball in the kitchen.

"He was a family member," Rebecca said. "Rod has PTSD and [Snoball] has saved his life. He's been his constant companion."

Rodney served in the Marines in Vietnam. He's a proud veteran who loves to display his flag collection in his front yard on Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

His flag collection was also lost in the fire.

"If you lost everything and you walked out your front door, and there was nothing left in your life, what would you do?" Rebecca asked.

"Saturday night, I had no hope when I was watching this smoke go up," Rodney said.

They couple said they hit rock bottom. But within just a few hours, they'd begin to find the good in their situation.

First, with Snoball.

"10:30 at night, I saw Snoball coming back through our back yard," Rodney said. "He come through the raspberry bushes."

Snoball had made it out of the house, alive.

He's a trooper too!" Rebecca said as she and Rodney chuckled.

Then, firefighters would find one of Rebecca's most precious possessions in the rubble.

She held up a charred ring in her hand.

"In the sink was my wedding ring," she said. Even if it's burned, she said she's hoping a jeweler can help restore it.

Most of all, the couple would find kindness from the community. People stepped forward with donations including clothing, water, blankets, and offering up furniture. A neighbor, as well as the couple's granddaughter, started fundraisers through GoFundMe.

"We had a neighbor down the street that brought Rod a flag to start his next collection," Rebecca said.

"We've had more people that we don't even know," Rodney said, of the people who have stepped forward to help.

"Such an outpouring of love and care," Rebecca said.

Rodney said they hope to thank the man who pounded on their door. They don't know who he is, but they want to thank him for saving their lives.

For a couple who lost everything, they didn't lose hope.

Click here for more information on fundraising efforts for the Hammonds.