Tonia Bushway tries to put on a smiling face as she plays with her two daughters and niece in their temporary home. The family is staying at the Holiday Inn after a fire took most of their belongings. Bushway's oldest daughter Tiffany Emery was inside the home when the fire started.
"My guinea pig was squeaking and I thought he wanted lettuce or something, because that is what he usually does. And I went over and I saw smoke, then I look more and I saw fire so I grabbed the phone and ran," Tiffany said.
Tiffany was able to escape uninjured, but the guinea pig was not as fortunate. The 12-year-old is still awaiting word on the family cat.
"I was scared because I didn't know if my cat was in there and I have had the cat ever since I was five," Tiffany said.
The fire broke out a little before noon Thursday and several area fire departments responded to the scene but they were unable to save the structure. An electrical short is believed to be the cause. The home is considered a total loss. The family did not have insurance.
"Friday, my sister's birthday, my mom bought me some pants and I never got to wear them once," Tiffany said.
"We lost everything, absolutely everything," Bushway said. "Clothes, TV, furniture... I lost the family photo albums of me and my sisters and my parents, and my grandparents."
Bushway said the kids are coping relatively well considering their lives have been flipped upside down over night.
"It still is devastating. Obviously... We can't go home," she said.
The Red Cross is paying for the room for the next few days and providing money for basic necessities like clothes and food. But come Monday they will need to find a new place to live.
"The house was our security and right now I think we have each other for our security," Bushway said.
She said she is focusing on her kids-- just taking things one step at a time.
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