Updated 9/12/09 at 7:50 PM
Late Monday evening my husband's youngest brother and his family lost their home to a devastating fire and their beloved dog to smoke inhalation. While it was/is a horrible thing to have happen, a miracle took place. No one (except poor Einstein) was hurt. My brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and our nieces and nephew (3-1/2-year-old twins and a 5-year-old) had gone to town for a very late supper.
The floor plan of the house was such that the master bedroom was on one side of the house and the children's rooms were on the other side. If they all had been at home in bed and asleep as they normally would have been, the children probably would not have survived. Mommy and Daddy could not have gotten through the house nor around the outside to the children fast enough.
The other miracles are that the house was new and over-insured. If they are careful with what they spend now, they should have a small down payment for a new house. (I think they own the land the house was on.) The Red Cross was there immediately with cash and clothing and paid for a motel room and food. A distant relative of our sister-in-law has an empty house for them to move into, and the town's people (most complete strangers) have been extremely generous with cash, other donations, and offers of help.