TROY, IL (KTVI) - A Troy, Illinois family is dealing with two tragedies in 3 months. Thursday morning their home burned. Paul Koopman lived at the home with his girlfriend Courtney Herrin and her mother Anne. Koopman said, "It was pretty scary, probably the most scared I`ve been in my life."
He was inside the home asleep when he heard a loud boom. The garage was on fire. Courtney Herrin said, "We`re running around trying to get the animals out." Four dogs, two cats, rabbits and a pet rat were also inside. Herrin said, "You never think anything like this will happen after a death in the family and then it does."
Courtney and her mother just buried 47-year-old Jimmy Herrin 3 months ago. The beloved husband and father lost his battle to pancreatic cancer. And, now the family has to deal with their house being destroyed by fire. Neighbor Stacey Mitchell said, "Such tragedy for one family in such a short time it`s a lot to handle." Courtney added, "There is no way to put it into words it`s beyond devastating."
Although the family lost almost everything, one very important item was found in the rubble. Courtney said, "They did save my dad`s urn and that`s the most important things. He`s still with us."
Now they have to pick up the pieces of their lives again when they`ve had so little time to recover from the first one. Courtney said, "I think me and my mom have always been fighters and we`ll continue to be fighters. Madden: You`re going to make it somehow. Yes we will."
Both cats died as a result of the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
A fund for the family has been established at a US Bank in Troy. The name of the fund is the "Anne Herrin Benefit Account."