The moment she read the text message from her neighbor, Rebecca Dobbins knew something was not right.
“Are you home?” one message read. Before Dobbins could reply, she received another message: “You need to get home immediately.”
While Dobbins, her husband, Jeff, and their two children were at a friend’s party on Super Bowl Sunday, a fire was burning at their Greenwood home. In the span of a few hours, the home they had built was severely damaged, they lost their pets and they were forced to move into a hotel room with only the clothes they were wearing that day.
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“We truly lost everything,” Dobbins said.
The blaze, which began in the kitchen, caused an estimated $80,000 to $100,000 in damage, and the Pines of Greenwood home will take about six months to be repaired and restored.
“It will be a long, hard road. The house will have to be taken down to the framing because they will be replacing a lot of it,” Dobbins said. “We have to try and find some sense of normalcy. The house is going to look different and it will feel different, but it’s still our house. So, we’re going to make it our home again.”
In the meantime, the family is looking for somewhere else to stay and has been so thankful for the generosity of the community so far, who donated clothing and about $7,000 to help them.
Once the family was allowed to go back inside the home after the blaze was put out, they realized how fortunate they were. The fire caused the most damage in her children’s bedrooms. The fire spread so quickly to the back of the house, where the children’s bedrooms are located, and they may not have been able to get to their kids if they had been home, Dobbins said.
Inside their home on Scotch Pine Drive, the fire started behind the stove and quickly spread throughout the kitchen after it reached a gas line, Greenwood Fire Chief James Sipes said.
After receiving the text messages, Dobbins called her neighbor to ask what was going on, and found out their home was on fire, Dobbins said.
“I picked up the phone and called my neighbor and my heart dropped. I dropped the phone and ran back inside, screaming for my husband,” Dobbins said. “Our friends told us, ‘We got the kids, you go.’ So we took off.”
The couple drove home as fast as they could with their hazard lights on, honking at each red light and intersection, then passing through, Dobbins said. A police officer tried to stop them, but they didn’t stop, knowing the officer would realize what was going on after following them to their home, Dobbins said.
By the time the Dobbins made it to the house, the fire was almost put out by firefighters. They ran to their home, hoping emergency workers would have their pets, but firefighters told them their two dogs and two cats had not made it out, and had died of smoke inhalation, Dobbins said.
The home was not ruled a total loss, Sipes said.
But for the Dobbins, everything that mattered that was in the house is gone, Dobbins said.
The last week has been overwhelming and difficult, trying to balance grief and perspective, Dobbins said. The family is in a hotel with nothing more than the possessions they had with them on the night of the fire and the clothes they had on. One child donated a video game console to her son, so he could have something fun to do, Dobbins said. And a family friend started a GoFundMe page, which has already collected about $7,000 in donations.
The family will spend much of this weekend sifting through the damage left behind, tossing out trash and items that couldn’t be salvaged or restored. They are also looking for a new place to stay while their home is restored.
Rebecca and Jeff Dobbins’ home in the Pines of Greenwood subdivision was severely damaged in a fire and will take about six months to restore and rebuild. Here is how to help the family:
On Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Rosita’s Mexican Restaurant, 8908 St. Peter St., Indianapolis, will donate 10 percent of all sales to the family.
The family also has a GoFundMe page, https://www.gofundme.com/u7ng59z8