Belton couple survives house fire by jumping out window, but home destroyed

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BELTON, Mo. -- A Belton couple says they're lucky to be alive.

On Friday night, Chris and Lorraine Ankenbrand were injured as they tried to escape a fire in their home. It happened just after 11 p.m. Friday at their home near W. Walnut and Baldwin streets.

Lorraine is still in the hospital with a broken leg, and her husband, Chris, was released after being treated for smoke inhalation.

The fire destroyed most of the front of their home and not one -- but two -- cars sitting out front. With almost all of their possessions lost, along with a pet, they said they're still grateful.

Memory after memory was made in the Ankenbrand home. Chris and Leanne were married on the porch eight years ago and are celebrating their anniversary on Monday.

"This house was where we made a new start with both our lives," Chris said.

Unfortunately, their newest memory is a fire.

"It's kind of sad in some respects to look at it that way, but I guess it's a new start in a whole other way, I guess. Another chapter at that point," he said. "The whole front was engulfed, and we heard the smoke alarm going off."

Late Friday night Chris said he jolted out of bed, realizing something was very wrong.

"Woke up to the smoke detector, luckily, because my step daughter Ashley had been on us to change the one in the kitchen, and I went ahead and changed the batteries, and that thing was going off, going off, going off," Chris said.

He grabbed his wife Lorraine and got onto the roof. He said she slipped on the shingles and fell onto the porch -- breaking her leg just below the knee.

"If we hadn't gotten out of this one, I don't know what we would have done because the only other option is a longer two-story drop, and I don't think any of us would have made it," he said.

Chris' stepdaughter, Ashley Apfl, lives with them. She was out of town when the fire ignited, and her room was destroyed.

"As long as they're OK, I'm fine," Apfl said. "The house can be replaced, things can be replaced, but they can't be replaced."

In the fire, the family also lost two cars and their beagle, Roscoe, who they were unable to save.

"My wife and I are firm believers in everything happens for a reason," Chris said. "God had something meant for us, and we may not know what that is now, but we'll know when we move forward. We're alive, and we're safe."

Belton Fire Chief John Sapp said the cause of the fire is under investigation, but he believes it was accidental. He said the smoke detectors were vital in saving the couple's life.

The family is currently homeless and being helped by family and friends. They are in need of help to get back on their feet and facing mounting medical and financial strain. If you are able to help this family, you can do so by clicking here.

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