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Family recovers after Christmas house fire
CRESTVIEW - A Christmas day fire destroyed a family's home and almost all of their possessions. When fire crews got to the home on Trish Drive in Crestview, it was covered in flames and smoke.
They were able to get the fire under control within 25 minutes, though the house was a total loss. But the family says emergency responders saved what was most important.
The Gatlin family had already had a good Christmas morning. The kids had opened their presents; they'd headed to a relative's house to continue the celebration. They hadn't been gone 45 minutes when they got the call that their home was on fire.
Ethan Snider and his sister Emma were playing in the yard, when Ethan saw black smoke coming from the Gatlin's house, and ran to get his dad.
"I went to the house to see what was going on, banged on the door, nobody answered. The garage was already pretty much in flames at that point," Ron Snider said.
Nick and Kristin Gatlin and their two young kids are an Air Force family. Firefighters were at their home for fifteen minutes when someone asked about their dog, Lola. They found her, overcome by smoke in a back room. Firefighters used special animal resuscitation equipment to get her breathing again.
"It's kind of amazing, they can bring a dog out that's in cardiac arrest and resuscitate her. I think they actually had her up on her feet before they loaded her up and took her to the emergency room and all," said Terry Gatlin.
Lola has to stay at the vet for a couple of days, but she's doing well. Nick's dad hopes people who see this will take every precaution to protect their families.
"You never know. It's the last thing we expected yesterday. So you know...check out fire systems, make sure they're operating, don't disable them," said Terry Gatlin.
Firefighters believe the fire started in the garage, and the cause was electrical.
The family was able to save a few things from the house. Getting this smoke smell out may be a different story. But Nick's dad says there was one good thing....he had a collection of guitars that somehow survived, he'll be able to play them again."