Family loses house and 14 pets in early morning fire

A Baroda couple lost nearly everything after a fire tore through their home early Saturday morning.

The call came in just after 5:30 a.m. in the 9000 block of Second Street.

The flames were so large, Lincoln and Lake Townships' fire departments also responded.

One of the homeowners says it was their dogs who woke them up and alerted them to what was happening. Their smoke alarm did not go off right away.

"They saved our lives, even though they lost theirs," said homeowner Bruce Gerlach. " We go down there wondering what they're barking about, and all of a sudden we see all this smoke, fire flared up, so we just hightailed out of there."

The couple made it out safely, but their two dogs and 12 cats didn't.

A neighbor tells NewsCenter 16 the residents took the cats in as strays, had them spayed and neutered, and gave them shelter in their home.

Now, much of that home is gone.

It took firefighters hours to put out the blaze. The first floor collapsed into the basement and everything inside is a total loss.

Firefighters won't be able to figure out what sparked the blaze until they get inside the home, which could take days.

While the family mourns their devastating loss the community is already coming together to help.

Just hours after the fire, messages were being passed around Facebook, asking residents to help the couple.

And, many did.

"Some friends of ours knew them personally and said they really needed some clothes and we asked what sizes and they happened to be the very size we have," said Baroda resident Stephanie Bronicki, who doesn't even know the couple.

Residents are also planning several fundraisers to help the family.

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