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Published December 20, 2011, 06:01 PM

Forest River, ND, Family Loses Nearly Everything in House Fire

NEAR FOREST RIVER, ND (WDAZ-TV) - Tragedy struck a rural Forest River family on Monday, when their home was destroyed by a fire.

By: Stacie Van Dyke, WDAZ

NEAR FOREST RIVER, ND (WDAZ-TV) - Tragedy struck a rural Forest River family on Monday, when their home was destroyed by a fire.

The first started around 6 a.m. The homeowners rushed to get everything they could save out of the house.

They say the fire started in a stove that burned wood pellets.

"It's really hard to accept," Deb Fossum said.

Bob and Deb Fossum tried to put the fire out themselves, but were forced to live a nightmare scenario. They grabbed what they could and left the home they've lived in for the past 17 years.

"The keepsakes are what we were able to salvage. From our children, pictures and home movies and those things that are truly precious, and the rest of it is just stuff," Bob said.

Firefighters were on the scene for three hours and say the roof was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived.

"The Minto Fire Department arrived in earnest and are true heroes because they saved the house," Bob said.

"What we have here is from what the volunteer fire department was able to preserve, so we're forever indebted," Deb said.

The couple and their two sons, a sophomore and junior at Midway, lost nearly everything, but say they feel extremely fortunate for what they have.

"The outpouring of community support has been truly overwhelming," Deb said.

Neighbors are offering food, clothing, even their homes to the family.

"That's why we live here," Bob said. "Our sons recognize it also, that this has been a very humbling experience for them. It's life changing, obviously, but they also feel good about the community and what they're doing for us,"

The fire department was back at the house Tuesday morning after the family found that rafters were still smouldering.

Despite the fire, the family says they would rather give than receive.

They appreciate all the effort, but encourage others to give to those who are in more need than they are this holiday season.

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