DeSoto Family Loses Home, Pets in Fire

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DESOTO, Kan. -- Fire destroyed a DeSoto, Kansas, home early Wednesday morning - killing several animals but leaving a mother and her son unharmed.

According to authorities, fire was reported at a home in the 8800 block of Waverly Road around 2:25 a.m. Cheri Schuler and her oldest son were sleeping inside the home at the time. They escaped the fire after being alerted by another son who came home and saw flames.

Firefighters say that the homeowner, a veterinarian, managed to save four dogs, but one of Cheri's beloved bulldogs didn't make it. Several other animals were killed in the fire including a parrot and a snake. A cat is still unaccounted for.

"It breaks my heart we couldn't save them all, but I couldn't see, I couldn't breath, I was crawling but couldn't see or breath, so I had to get out," said Cheri. "Most importantly my family is okay."

Cheri's husband Jason was working in New Jersey at the time, but he jumped on the first plane home Wednesday.

At Wanda's Roadside Cafe in DeSoto, Wanda Riedheart says everyone in town is talking about the sad loss and wanting to do what they can to help.

"We got their back, they are so loved in this town," she said. "They're the most awesome family and I want them to know it's time we pay them back some and show them some kindness."

Cheri said she's happy to hear that and she's grateful for so many good friends and family and co-workers who have been so supportive. But she especially wanted to thank police and fire.

"Because they both helped us out a lot," she said while tearing up. "As far as help, we don't need anything else because we're just looking for a place to rent right now until we can rebuild here or whatever we're going to do, we haven't made that decision yet."

Cheri also wanted to thank the Red Cross for its help and her State Farm agent in Eudora who worked fast and got her a check within hours of calling him.

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