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Rising from the Ashes: Surviving a House Fire

Posted at 12:59 PM, Mar 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-03 20:35:31-05
It is a story we tell far too often on KGUN 9; showing videos of flames, firefighters rushing to save lives and smoke billowing in communities all around us. 
But, what you see at home on your television screen is only skimming the surface. It's what happens after the news breaks that will break your heart. 
As Mike Antonides opens the front door of his eastside home, he lets out a deep sigh. The shock is beginning to settle in after his home ended up on the news just a few weeks ago.
"In a matter of a half hour, 45 minutes, just about everything you own is gone," Antonides said. 
Antonides lived at the home near Stella and Kolb with his wife and his mother-in-law. 
"I'm just glad everybody got out," Antonides said. 
The fire started in the backyard, forcing the family to escape through the front door. All of it was sparked after a little boy was playing with matches. Antonides told KGUN9, his wife and him had just pulled their stuff out of storage and it was the first to go in the fire. 
"When it's all said and done, I had the clothes on were my back and I think the ones I got on now," he nervously laughed. 
The clean-up process has been a very slow one. Every inch of the house, both inside and out, either charred or searing with smoke damage. 
Many family members have been spending days salvaging anything they can. 
The homeowner did not want to go on camera, but her niece - Penny Fox told KGUN9, they are trying to save as many family heirlooms as possible. 
"Pictures and stuff, of course," Fox explained. "You don't want to pack away with all the smoke on them, so we're trying to save the important stuff."
Inside the home, a crockpot is still sitting on the stove. A startling reminder that no one can ever see this coming. 
"That was going to be dinner," Antonides said. "And doing everything else - I keep forgetting to throw that out."
No matter how many times he walks through the damage, he says - it does not get easier to see. 
"It always happens to somebody else and you think you're going to be prepared," Antonides said through tears. "But, you're not."
This story - one that started in the headlines is now archived in their minds as they rebuild, not only the house - but, their lives. 
The home will have to be demolished and started from scratch, which will take about five to six months, according to their insurance company. 
For now, the three residents are staying in temporary housing.
A family friend has set-up a GoFundMe page to try and help this family get back on their feet. You can click here if you want to donate.