FOWLERVILLE, MI (WILX) -- A mid-Michigan family of six has no home after it was destroyed by fire on Tuesday night, and now, the Fowlerville Fire Department is trying to figure out what caused it.
Three cars burned to the frame in front of what used to be a garage after a violent fire tore through the home in Fowlerville, destroying everything in its path.
"Flames were shooting out the garage. I opened the door, I was going to go out and move the vehicles, but the flames were just too intense," Patrick Birmingham, the home owner, said.
Birmingham describes the moment he rushed to get his family and pets out of harms way.
"I got all the kids out the back, so my wife says that we had a duck still in the house," Birmingham said.
As he went to find his dear bird, things got worse.
"We had the one duck in the house. It had a broken leg. So she says Quackers is still in the house so I'm like, 'I can't go back in there,' she says 'it's a part of the family.' So I ran back in to get the duck and then I heard him underneath the table so I grabbed him and as I'm running out, the other car blew up and the whole side of the house was in flames," Birmingham said.
The father says it all started around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning when he, his wife and four teens escaped the flames.
"People don't realize how quick it comes in. I.. I never knew that. I thought you know, tough guy, I can get the cars. I can move this. I'll protect you and it's just like flames dancing off the garage," Birmingham said.
The community immediately rallied around the family putting them up in a local hotel and chipping in with donations.
"Red Cross came through. People came out and gave us clothes, but we're trying to make sense of the whole thing. We don't know how it started," Birmingham said.
The Birmingham's spent 30 years in the home that is now a total loss, including irreplaceable memories.
"I'm just glad we all got out alive. We're thankful for God watching out for us and we'll just move on from here," Birmingham said.
The family is hoping to move into a rental property soon.
Julie Birmingham said, "I'm still overwhelmed."
Her husband added while choking up, "I don't want to turn anyone away, if you want to give something give it, but if you could, gift cards would be best so we could get the kids Christmas gifts and stuff like that."
Mayhew's Tree Farm has donated a tree to the family.
If you're interested in donating to the family's gofundme page, click here.
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