‘Our house was gone, we’re homeless’ – Recovering from Thanksgiving Fire

FREELAND -- Donna Schlauch and her family were in the process of remodeling different parts of their house in Luzerne County. Now, this family of seven has to start all over after a fire destroyed the home Thanksgiving evening.

"There was nothing we could do," she said. "Our house was gone. We're homeless. We have nothing. Everything we had was in there."

The Schlaughs weren't home at the time of the fire; they were spending Thanksgiving at the grandparents' when they got a call saying their home was on fire. By the time they made it back, it was destroyed.

"The place is gutted," said Chief Joe Stepansky of Freeland Fire Department. "We do have structural collapse on the interior. Firefighters at that point had to pull out and go from interior attack to defensive attack."

For JR Schlauch, it's hard holding back tears. On top of all his memories and mementos, he lost both his goldfish - Pacman and Fishie.

"It's sad," he said.

"It's going to be hard but we're strong family and we will get through this," Schlaugh added. "We're just thankful that we weren't here and we have our lives today."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and the family is staying in a motel in the meantime.

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