SOUTH FORT MYERS, Fla. - It's been more than a year since fire destroyed a South Fort Myers family's home. We have a happy ending to share with you, right in time for the holidays. ??October 13th of last year is a night that changed the Otis family's lives. "We had gone to bed, and at 1:00 in the morning, I heard a popping noise, woke up to that, smelled the smoke, woke my husband up, and just started screaming for help from our neighbors," Maggie Otis said.
Maggie had to be rescued from the second floor of their Aqua Lane home with a ladder. Her husband Jim followed, but not before saving their dogs by throwing them down into the pool.
The rising sun revealed $300,000 of damage. The front of the home was a total loss. "Just to watch it burn was a very traumatic experience," Otis said.? ?Even after battling flames all night, a few firefighters from Station 71 stuck around. She says they dug for hours, helping salvage what they could - priceless family pictures. A year and two months later, the burnt debris is gone, and in its place, "We have a beautiful new house," Otis said. "We have had so much love and support from our kids and our family and our friends and we are just ready to come back home ."
For the past year, the Otis family has rented a nearby home from a friend. As workers brush, sweep, and complete the final touches, Maggie can think of no greater gift this Christmas, than a place her family can call home once again. Tuesday, they move in.??"No doubt about God, he was there, he saved us," Otis said. "I accept things for what they are and have a great appreciation for what I have now. Tuesday will be our Christmas."