Several area firefighters were out in Thursday night's frigid weather for hours, putting out flames at an Olive Township home in St. Joe County.
It happened around 5:30 p.m. in the 29000-block of Grant Road.
The couple who rents the home was in complete shock. They told NewsCenter 16 they want no help and they want no one to know their name; all they want is what they had when they woke up Thursday morning: their cats.
Seeing all the lights and all of the action in front of their home was not what neighbors expected. It is this home that's usually a symbol of holiday joy.
"They had their lights out," remembers Max Mangold. "They were enjoying the holidays and now this happens to them. It's really sad. It's a beautiful home, a nice brick home. People are losing jobs and now something like this happens. They probably had Christmas gifts in there."
They did, but the couple says that doesn't matter. All they want for Christmas is their seven cats.
Firefighters say passersby called 911 when they noticed flames early in the evening.
"A Warren Township firefighter who got here first said flames were shooting through the roof on the rear part of the structure," explains Chris Antonucci, a New Carlisle firefighter.
The couple says they thought this was all a bad dream. They had no power when they left for work in the morning. All they looked forward to on the ride home was power back on, a nice warm shower, and a welcome home from their seven cats. Instead, it was a dozen firefighters.
"I saw them running across the lawn and obviously in a panic," Antonucci recalls. "It looks like the whole roof structure is gone. Usually if the roof is gone, the inside sustains heavy damage."
Firefighters still don't know exactly how this fire started, but they believe it began somewhere near the bathroom.