CAPE FAIR, Mo. An Ozarks firefighter was hurt and a family of nine lost their home the day before Thanksgiving. It was gone in minutes Wednesday afternoon, and it's not the family's only struggle.
Nikole Brisco is hugging her five kids tight today, as they face a heartbreaking loss. They family of seven moved in with Nikole's mom and brother just a few months ago.
"I was coming across the bridge and all I could see was smoke, and my phone rang, and it was my mom," says Brisco, "and she told me that the whole house was on fire."
Nikole's 8 year old autistic son had gone downstairs to get some toys when the family heard a boom.
"He said, mom, I tried so hard to put it out. He said, I just couldn't get it. I didn't know what to do." Brisco says, "And it broke my heart."
Thankfully, everyone made it out, even Nikole's mom, who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The fire started downstairs, though they are not sure exactly where.
"It was already smoking bad in there," says 12 year old Laura. "Like you could partially see the flames coming up in the bathroom so I had to get her out."
"She said, mom, I was so proud of grandma. She moved like a snail would run. She got out, without her walker or anything," says Brisco.
Southern Stone County firefighter John Hood was hurt on the way to the fire, when a fire tanker rolled.
"I did speak with him this morning. He's doing good," says Eric Nielsen of Southern Stone County Fire Protection District. "He's at home recovering and is going to make a full recovery."
Thankfully, only cuts and bruises. "Definitely could have been worse, and the truck is a total loss," says Nielsen.
The Briscos' home is also a total loss, and it's their third in a year. They say a driver who fell asleep crashed into their old house, then an apartment manager kicked them out. The Red Cross paid for a hotel last night, but Brisco says they ended up on her brother's floor.
"Nobody would take us and five kids," says Brisco.
More than anything, her kids want a home. But they're thankful to have each other, including a two year old who helps lighten the mood.
"He has been extremely helpful at cheering people up and making them smile," says Brisco.
The family says the Red Cross and First Baptist Church in Cape Fair have been helping them out with things like clothes and blankets, and friends started a GoFundMe page to raise money.