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Winchester family escapes housefire, loses dog and belongings

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The Ratliff family lost almost everything in a housefire early Saturday morning — but thankfully, they still have their lives.

According to a report by LEX 18, the Winchester, Kentucky, family escaped with a single cell phone and the clothes on their backs when their home erupted in flames.

Winchester is located in Clark County, Kentucky, about 20 miles southeast of Lexington.

Evan Ratliff said the fire alarm woke him up and he sprang into action. He made sure his wife, three children, mother-in-law and brother-in-law were all out of the house, burning himself in the process.

“You don’t think about your own safety when it comes to that,” Ratliff said. “I would have done it tenfold over again.”

His wife, Andrea, was separated from the kids while she was trying to get out, and said it was terrifying.

“I don’t think I fully felt that my kids were safe until I was sitting down and had all of my hands on them and they were beside me,” Andrea said. “I’ve never been so scared in my life.”

All seven family members inside made it out okay. But their cat, Macy, is still missing. Their beloved German Shephard, Cooper, didn’t make it.

“He was the best dog ever,” Andrea said. “Everyone loved him. All of the neighbors. He was so friendly.”

Cooper, the German Shephard dog owned by Ratliff family in Winchester, Kentucky

Cooper, the Ratliff’s family beloved dog, didn’t survive the May 2021 fire at their Winchester, Kentucky, home. (Source LEX 18)

After this traumatic experience, their neighbors have pitched in to help in any way possible.

“However we can help we just wanted to kinda do that,” neighbor Maggie Doyle said. “So everyone is rallying. We have a big group text, people taking cash.”

Anyone who wants to donate to the family can do so by CLICKING HERE.

Bike discovered at the scene of the fire at the Ratliff family home in Winchester, Kentucky

Bike discovered at the scene of the fire at the Ratliff family home in Winchester, Kentucky, in May 2021. (Source: Andrea Ratliff, via LEX 18)

Any and all donations can also be dropped off at Shamppodles Grooming Salon at 229 McClure Road, in Winchester, Kentucky, Tuesday through Saturday.

Below you can find clothing sizes for the Ratliff family:

  • Andrea:  M/L tops, M pants (no jeans please), Size 8 shoes
  • Evan:  2XL/3XL tops, XL pants, Size 12 shoes
  • Kadan (11y/o boy): 14/16 or Large tops, L/XL pants, Size 6 shoes
  • Addi (9y/o girl): L tops, L pants, Size 3 shoes
  • Lexi: (6y/o girl): S/6X tops, 6X pants, Size 12 shoes

The Clark County Fire Department is working to figure out what started the fire. While they do not know the cause yet, they do know that the fire alarm saved the Ratliff family.

Evan Ratliff says the fire spread so quickly that they may not have made it out in time if the alarm didn’t wake them up.

“You hear the chirp every now and then from your fire alarm every now and then when your batteries are going dead and you don’t realize how important that is,” Evan said.

“We just wouldn’t be here today if the fire alarms hadn’t gone off,” Andrea said.

“You can see from the devastation it was a quite intense fire so it most definitely saved their lives,” Clark County Fire Department Chief Steve Asbury said.

Asbury also gave these tips to make sure your fire alarm is working properly:

  • Keep your smoke detector clean.
  • Change out the batteries every year.
  • Push the test button periodically to make sure it’s working.
  • Replace the detector every five to 10 years.

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