Community helping family of 13 rebuild from devastating fire

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 7:17 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 11 at 7:21 PM

Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

MANDEVILLE, La. -- The Reimonenq's found their family pet Tuesday, three days after their home on Orleans Street went up in flames.

"Baby Cat" seemed to emerge from nowhere.

The fire, which investigators believe began in the back of the home, left the couple, plus their 11 children, ages 17 to 1 month old, with nothing but each other.

"It just happened so fast and I'm just thankful that they all got out, everybody's safe," said mother Senorita Reimonenq.

But that wasn't immediately known. When the flames were first discovered, with much of the family in the home, one child was missing.

“For about 10 minutes, we thought he was in there and it was like, it was horrific," Shelby Reimonenq, the family patriarch.

Once the child was found unharmed around the corner and the flames were out, firefighters on the scene went from frantic to feeling sad for what was left in front of them.

“There were kids here, it was cold, they had no coats on, they had no shoes on," said St. Tammany Fire District #4 spokesman Jason Kaufmann.

As if the devastation wasn't enough, the family didn't have insurance, because they recently added on to the house and the new policy for that addition was set to be signed Monday.

But support from loved ones and strangers have helped the family see a future beyond their charred belongings and memories here.

"They've been dropping off clothes and food, you know things like that,” said the mother, “The support has been amazing."

The father said, "We don't know what tomorrow will bring, but the community has been, I mean, I really don't even have the words."

It's a tomorrow that looks promising thanks to kindness from the community, and the return of the final family member.

The Red Cross put the family up in a hotel until today, but a good Samaritan paid for the family to stay one more night. If you’d like to help the Reimonenq’s, an account has been set up in their name at all Capitol One banks.

 

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