Normally, Rachelle Flatt's husband is the firefighter hero in their family. But on Tuesday, when she noticed flames on the family's back patio, she jumped into action. "I just did what I had to do," she told her husband, who is a firefighter miles from their house.
The fire reached the family's propane tank and exploded, shattering glass doors, allowing the fire to creep inside. With her 3-year-old daughter in her arms, Flatt made it to the front door of the home and was able to hand her off to neighbors ready with open arms.
The Spokesman-Review reported, "Flatt went back inside for her 15-month-old daughter, then back again for her 6-year-old son." On her final trip out of the house, the smoke was so thick all that Flatt could do was grope her way out, "I was running out of air."
Flatt and her three children got out, the kids unscathed, while Flatt suffered just minor burns. Two of the family pets made it out, too. Sadly, though, one of their dogs wasn't lucky enough. Flatt recalls, "He followed me back to my son’s room and didn’t make it out. He was the most patient with our kids. He was a good boy," she said as she choked back tears.
If there's any silver lining here it's that tragedies like this bring families and communities even closer. Family and friends are helping the Flatts get back on their feet. Flatt's husband, Pete, said of their friends, "We’ve got tons of support. It’s overwhelming.”