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Fire destroys Winnebago home, couple must cope with loss

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 5:53 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A Winnebago man whos livelihood is fixing cars and helping others now finds himself in a position where he’s the one who needs the help.

“You just don’t think it’s going to happen to you, but it does. It really does,” said David Gray.

David Gray and his wife Karen ordered dinner and turned into bed early the night of July 6. Their routine was a bit different - they slept in their RV because of remodeling in their Winnebago home.

“I usually turn my phone off at night. So the wife had her phone on. And it actually woke her up,” said Gray. “That’s when we noticed the house was on fire.”

5 fire departments responded to the massive blaze, but they couldn’t save the Gray’s home, or their possessions.

“We literally just had the shirts off our backs. We lost heirlooms that everyone has. Memories,” said Gray.

Memories that Gray and his wife spent the last 27 years building. The couple raised their kids in that home and watched Gray’s auto shop right next door flourish.

“We created all this. This was a rundown farm when we bought it. I called it little Tokyo because there was so many powerlines going from building to building. And now it’s just gone,” said Gray.

Fortunately, the couple has insurance and they’re staying in the RV. But more than two weeks after the fire, it’s unclear if and when they will be given the money and resources to move forward.

“It’s going to be like getting married all over. Starting with nothing. And building it back up. That’s all we can do,” said Gray.

The Grays have a GoFundMe page for those who want to give donations.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

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