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“It’s pretty catastrophic.” Family of nine loses home and six dogs in fire

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SHELLEY — A family is trying to recover after their house caught fire and killed six of their family dogs.

The fire happened July 3 at Tim and Amanda Miller’s home near 1250 North in Shelley. Tim tells EastIdahoNews.com it has been a struggle over the last few weeks because nothing has felt normal for them and their seven kids. Their home of 10 years is now unlivable and Amanda says they lost a majority of their belongings.

“We lost, I’d say a good 85% of our stuff that’s either smoke damaged, water damaged or burnt,” she says.

On the day of the fire, Tim and his family were coming home from a company barbecue when his son suddenly found the house full of smoke and called 911. Tim got home around 11:20 p.m. and did what he could as quickly as possible.

“I ran in the house to gather up my dogs and none of them were responding. I grabbed a fire extinguisher to put the fire out and it wouldn’t go out. Shortly after, the Shelley Fire Department showed up on scene,” he says. “A lot of my basement has flood damage from the fire hoses and the main level and upstairs is pretty much lost.”

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Smoke damage on books and pictures inside the Miller home. | Courtesy Tim Miller

Tim works from home and has been able to continue operating his business out of the garage but the rest of the home is unusable. There’s smoke damage inside the walls and ceilings, and the smell is strong.

“People drive by it and it looks fine but when you go inside, it’s a train wreck,” Amanda says. “Nothing happened to the outside. Everything just happened inside.”

Tim said they were able to save three puppies, a tortoise and a cat but the loss of their family dogs is devastating, along with not knowing what’s next.

“The emotional damage is insane. All the pets we had were our best friends. They were our family. Getting displaced from our home, hopping from hotel to hotel. Nobody being able to settle into anything. Eating fast food. All of it is just intense,” he says.

One of Tim and Amanda’s kids, Connor, started a GoFundMe to help their family get back on their feet. There is a $5,000 goal with money going toward things like clothes, food and gas expenses.

Brian Owens, a deputy fire marshal in Idaho Falls, told EastIdahoNews.com the fire cause was accidental.

“Our theory is there was something up on the stove. They had a very large dog and the dog got up on there and inadvertently turned the stove on and whatever items were on the stovetop, started on fire,” says Owens. “My only advice is to remind people to clean off their cookstoves. Don’t leave anything that could potentially burn or catch on fire on top of the cookstoves.”

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Smoke damage on ceilings and railings inside the Miller home from the fire. | Courtesy Tim Miller

Amanda said the fire had been a reality check for her.

“You see fires on the news and you are like, ‘Oh that happens to other people. That doesn’t happen to us, we are fine.’ You just don’t ever think it’s going to happen to you and then you realize how material things are nice but they are not as important as you thought they were,” she says.

Amanda explains she has several plans she wants to put in place so this doesn’t happen again and wants to warn others too.

She’d like to get a home security system in case a smoke alarm goes off in the house so she will be notified immediately and wants to change some of the features on her stove.

“I think one of the dogs bumped one of the knobs. I would like people to know that there are safety knobs that are available that you can put on your stove so that you don’t by accident get your stove turned on,” she says.

She strongly encourages people to back up their computers as many of her family photos have been lost.

Tim says he is currently working with insurance and it might take them at least six to eight months to move back into their home after it is redone. Everything needs to be gutted so for now, his family is staying in an Airbnb hoping for the best.

“All of our personal items are lost,” he says. “It’s pretty catastrophic.”

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Kitchen area inside the Miller home. | Courtesy Tim Miller

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: EastIdahoNews.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.

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