Independence family loses everything in "a matter of minutes" during fire

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- For Keira and Tim Franklin and their children, it all came down to a matter of minutes.

That's how long it took for their house on North Jones Court to be engulfed in flames, and it's the amount of time that made the difference between life and death.

"I think that's why I'm so upset today because I realize how fortunate we were to make it out," Keira said through tears.

Around 3 a.m. Saturday Keira and the three kids were in bed. Tim was downstairs visiting with a friend when he smelled smoke coming from the garage.

"As soon as I opened that door, you could tell it just fueled it, and I mean flames came through that door at me. So I yelled fire, and I scrambled upstairs and tried to fill up some pots," Tim explained.

It soon became clear that buckets of water would be no match for the fire. The family ran outside with their three birds, cat, pygmy goat and one of their dogs. Their Labrador Retriever was still inside, and Tim tried three times to go back in and rescue him. Miraculously, the dog hunkered down in the basement and survived the fire.

Unfortunately, nearly everything inside was destroyed, including clothes, toys, baby pictures and irreplaceable family heirlooms.

The fire obliterated the car that was inside the garage and severely damaged the other, which was parked just outside. The Franklins' car insurance policy ran out just three days before. Their renters' insurance was bundled with it, so right now they don't know if any of their losses will be covered. 

Friends and family started a fundraising page to help offset some of the costs. Donations can also be accepted at Tim's PayPal account,

Despite losing almost everything, Keira and Tim are thankful that in a matter of minutes, they were able to save what's most important.

"I've got my kids, I've got the pets and the support. That's all you can go from and just better yourself from here. I'm an optimistic person. I've been through a lot, and I know you just rebuild. That's all material stuff. It can be replaced, as bad as it hurts to lose," Keira said.

The family was just getting back on its feet from another traumatic experience. In 2013 Tim went into cardiac arrest during an asthma attack and nearly died. After that Keira went back to school and is training to become a nurse. During Tim's recovery, she saved up the money to rent their house in Independence. 

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