Fire destroys home in Richland

RICHLAND -- A horrible fire in Richland left a house on Symons destroyed. Thankfully, no one was at home. But it does leave an elderly couple homeless for the holidays.

The flames started before 6am Saturday morning. Several agencies rushed to the scene. It all started in the basement. Firefighters doused it multiple times, and thought it was over. That is, until it stretched to the other end of the house and shot up to the attic! At that point, it was too dangerous for fire crews to battle the blaze inside.

"They're out of town for the holiday weekend, and they're on their way back today. So we'll make sure that somebody's here waiting for them and we'll get them some support and transition," said Richland Operations Battalion Chief Tom Huntington.

"It is a devastation, a devastating event, and it's important that we assist them through this, so we also help them get in contact with their insurance company," said Fire Chaplain Krista Weeks.

A backhoe had to tear down the walls and roof so firefighters could get inside. The couple had three cats. Last we knew, one cat had been found. Crews expect the Red Cross to provide lodging, food and clothing for the pair. Neighbors hope for a community outpouring.

"That everyone helps as much as they can and gives them what they need. Try to get them back on their feet. They're in their 80's, so obviously they don't have much. To restart is not going to be easy," said neighbor Brooke Christ.

It is uncertain what started the fire. The investigation is ongoing.