Fire destroys house, leaves local family of 11 homeless

AMHERST TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Tony and Cathy Ellis made it out of their burning Amherst home because of the quick thinking of two of their nine children.

Tony Ellis stared at the burned shell of his two-story, four-bedroom Lorain County home Wednesday.

"Memories, devastation, sadness," Ellis said.

The last time he was inside, he was helping one of his nine children get ready for school, reported ONN's Cristin Severance. Ellis said he told the boy to throw his wrinkled the shirt in the dryer, but that's when flames started shooting out of the machine.

"I was downstairs trying to put out the fire," Ellis said. His 8-year-old did his best to help.

"He did a good job by yelling there was a fire in the house and that alerted everybody else," Ellis said.

The alert was also heard by the couple's 20-year-old son, who was able to pick up his 11-year-old paralyzed sister, who can't communicate. He carried her out of the burning home. The entire family, including the dog, made it out alive.

"We sat across the road and just watched it for four hours just burn and burn and burn. I can't even describe it," Ellis said.
They lost furniture, clothes, his wife's wedding ring, pictures and birth certificates. Two cats are also still missing. Tens of thousands of dollars in equipment for their special needs daughter are also gone.

But even though they lost a home, they have each other. Ellis said the fact that all 11 family members made it out is a blessing.

The Ellis family will live in a hotel for the next couple of days thanks to the Red Cross.

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