TOLEDO (WTOL) - A January fire ripped through the Reynolds’ home in south Toledo.
Ever since that cold day, their lives have been forever changed. The memories of what they lost are vivid, but they say their blessings are even bigger.
A devastating fire broke out early on Thursday January 24 on Prouty Avenue. Neighbors’ frantic calls to 911 bring back intense reminders of how terrifyingly close they were to not making it out of the fire alive.
All five of the Reynolds fought to escape the flames.
David, the father, was able to get their nine-year-old daughter and one of the seven-year-old twins out of the house and away from the fire to get help while Alexandria, the mother, worked to save the other seven-year-old twin.
Alexandria remembers the last few moments they were battling to get out.
“We’re almost there,” Alexandria “Roozie” Reynolds remembered saying. “We’re almost there. It was so hot and I was like that’s the fridge, we’re almost to the door come on babe! And that was the last thing I remember.”
Alexandria passed out just inches from the door outside. When she fell Addison ‚7, became trapped in the home. She was inside the blaze close to seven minutes after the first 911 call and firefighters had to rescue her.
“When they took us away in the ambulance they told us that she didn’t have a heartbeat,” said Reynolds. “She was unresponsive.”
But luckily crews were able to revive Addison and she was admitted to the hospital alongside the rest of her family.
“I could never thank that man enough,” said Alexandria Reynolds of the Toledo Fire Department. “They are a part of the family.”
The Reynolds spent nearly a week in the ICU and Burn Unit recovering physically. Seeing everyone in the hospital was emotional not just for the Reynolds, but their entire family. They are all counting their blessings to have all five of them alive and well.
“The firefighters said that if they’d have been in the fire for one more minute longer we would have lost everybody,” said Theresa Kruse, Alexandria’s mom.
While they are healing, there is still a lot of pain because of what they endured together.
"Where we were a month ago was the lowest point of our lives,” said Alexandria Reynolds. “That's a day that we'll never forget no matter how hard you try."
While an official report hasn’t been released yet, Alexandria believes a brand-new space heater is to blame for the blaze. Despite that she says their story is full of miracles. From the crews that responded to the fire, to their amazing physical recovery, and how they were able to grow as a family.
Alexandria says what played a huge role in their safety and protection that January morning was her daughter’s memory of their fire safety plan. A plan her girls once dreaded practicing.
“It’s that fight or flight instinct that kicks in and they remembered what they were supposed to do and I’m really glad,” said Reynolds. “They can hate me for it all they want, but I am glad we went over that fire plan so much.”
She now encourages everyone to double-check their smoke detectors and have those critical conversations as a family. She knows they can save your life.
Still, that fire forever changed their lives, but now they are working to rebuild. David hasn’t been able to return to work yet, but they are beginning to find their new normal, together.
“My heart’s relieved,” said Theresa Kruse, Alexandria’s mom. “It’s hard to see them struggle emotionally, but I’m starting to see some joy come back into their life.”
The family says the girls are doing great and just returned to school. The Reynolds found a new home and recently moved in thanks to hundreds of donations. It may take a while for them to feel comfortable in a new home, but they are beyond grateful for all they’ve been given.
“With so much negative in the world you almost lost your faith in humanity and I can say mine has been restored a million times over,” said Reynolds. “It’s really truly the community has been such a blessing to us.”
But the family is still in need of financial help as they lost everything and were without insurance. Currently, they are fighting to pay bills, get much needed items and to top it off they need to tear down the home on Prouty Avenue and clear the rubble of what used to be their loving home.
“There’s already so much going through our minds and our hearts the financial aspect of it has just been a big extra stress on top of it,” said Alexandria Reynolds.
Since so many wanted to help, their family is hosting a benefit in the Reynolds honor on March 3.
It will be held the Sofia Quintero Arts and Cultural Center at 1225 Broadway in Toledo.
There will be music, food, raffles and more with all proceeds going directly to the family to rebuild their life. If you want to learn more you can follow the event here.
The Reynolds family has come a long way since the fire that destroyed their home, but they say it will not destroy them. While they know they still have a lot of recovering to do, they say the important thing is they can do it together and alongside a supportive community that’s cheering them on.