As Shayla Agin drove towards her house near Sulphur Springs on Wednesday afternoon, her heart sank.
“I saw smoke and fire trucks. I just knew it was our house,” Agin said on Friday.
Agin’s home she had shared for the past two years with her finance, A.J. Horner, and their children, 12-year-old Lexi, 9-year-old Aiden and 8-year-old Ashton, was in flames.
Agin said the cause of the blaze has not yet been determined officially.
“I have talked with the firefighters and they think it may have been caused by two electric heaters we had just gotten two days before the fire,” Agin said.
Agin was off work from her job at the Old 30 BBQ on the day of the fire but had taken her niece to a medical appointment.
“I put the kids on the bus, then went back to sleep until my niece called about 9:30 a.m. I got home about 1,” said Agin.
Agin said AJ was at work at Esco Bucyrus Blades when the fire gutted the family’s home they were in the process of buying.
“We lost everything but those are material things. I feel blessed that my kids are safe, that we are safe,” said Agin.
Unfortunately, one family member was lost in the fire: the family’s Irish Setter, Molly.
“I am dealing with her cremation today and focusing on Bruno,” said Agin of the family’s Chiwawa.
Bruno survived the fire but is still having trouble breathing and walking. He was in the care of the Galion Veterinarian Hospital but was in the process of being transferred to Rascal Animal Hospital in Dublin.
“He needs to be put in an oxygen tent for three to five days. He is having a lot of trouble but I can’t bear to give up on him. He is all my children have left,” Agin said.
Agin said the firefighters from Liberty Township and other townships that provided mutual aid to battle the blaze have been wonderful to her and her family.
“And I cannot say enough about the (Crawford County Chapter) Red Cross,” Agin said. “They secured a hotel room for us. Someday, I will be donating to them because they have been so wonderful to us.”
Agin said family members have room for her family to stay with them.
“But for the weekend, we are staying at the hotel. It is helping the kids keep their mind off of things since they can swim and it is something different for them,” Agin said.
Agin said she is overwhelmed at the outpouring of support, assistance and compassion from the community.
“People have been so amazing to us,” Agin said.
One of those people is Chris Carter of Galion.
“Every one of us needs a little help at one time or another. As a mother and grandmother, my heart went out to this family who lost everything. I was contacted by a mutual friend who knows my desire to help those in need. I felt an immediate call to try and help the Agin family,” Carter said. “It is my hope and prayer for this family to begin to rebuild their lives in realizing how blessed they are to still have each other. May God bless them abundantly.”
Carter has organized two drop off points for donations to be collected for Agin and her family.
“In Galion, people can drop off items at American Family Insurance / Heath Watkins Agency, 113 Harding Way West. They are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and at H and K Watkins next door. They are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” Carter said.
Carter said in Bucyrus, people can drop off items at The New Day Ministries Outreach Center, 133 N. Sandusky Ave.
“They are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please make sure items are tagged with “Shayla Agin,” said Carter.
The boys’ shoe sizes are 3 and 4 while their clothing sizes are 10/12 large and 8 small. Also, girls/women’s size 9/10 (juniors) and size 6.5 to 7 in shoes are needed along with men’s size 2 extra-large shirts, size 40 by 32 pants and size 11.5 to 12 in shoes.
A Gofundme.com account has also been set up to help the family at https://www.gofundme.com/ft31hg. Anyone wishing to provide assistance with Bruno’s treatment should contact Rascal Animal Hospital at http://www.rascalanimalhospital.com.
“We are looking for a house to rent for now until we decide what to do. We did not have renter’s insurance but encourage everyone to get it. I did not realize how cheap it is per year and will always have it in the future,” Agin said.
Agin said she is extremely grateful for all of the assistance and support from the community.
“I do not know how to even begin to thank everyone. We have lost so much yet gained so much in the past few days,” said Agin through tears.