Family takes first look inside house after wildfire

Published: Mar. 6, 2022 at 8:32 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - It’s an unimaginable tragedy. It took just 40 minutes for the Adkins Avenue wildfire to destroy a Bay county family’s house while they weren’t home.

The emotion was overwhelming as Laurie Shuman and her husband Paul saw for the first time what was left of their home.

What was once a beautiful house in Bay County is now charred from the Adkins Avenue wildfire.

As they walk inside, it’s clear not much is left.

“I’m devastated, to be honest with you,” said Laurie. “This was my living room. Oh my gosh. My curio cabinet and everything was there. All of our furniture.”

The Shuman family moved into this home after Hurricane Michael destroyed the last one. It was supposed to be their forever home.

“You almost feel targeted. I know we’re not. It’s just hard to get away from those types of feelings,” said Paul.

Those feelings were even more devastating because they weren’t home to save their dog, Bella.

“What I want to find is my dog. Everything else is replaceable. Heirlooms, you’re going to miss them, but life’s more important” said Laurie.

Paul and his son Randall began searching for Bella. Their worst fears were confirmed.

“This is devastating. The hardest part was losing our dog. I was glad I was able to locate her. Just sad I couldn’t get her out.”

As they sifted through the ashes, it seems there was nothing to save.

“There’s nothing here. It’s gone. I have no words” said Paul.

“All my soaps, conditioners, can’t use that no more,” said Laurie.

Then, a glimmer of hope. A few pictures and keepsakes were spared from the flames.

“We’ll get over it. We’ll get through it.”

Getting through it, for a second time after dealing with a double disaster.

The Shuman family has only been in their new home for two and a half years since rebuilding after Hurricane Michael. They say this time they’re not sure if they’re ready to rebuild.

Click here to support the family’s GoFundMe.

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