Family Struggles Following Fire Tragedy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Family Struggles Following Fire Tragedy

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

"We had a tragedy. We lost everything in the house. Kids had the clothes they went to school with and that was it," says Dave Rasmussen.

February 25, 2011, brought an immense personal tragedy for Dave Rasmussen and his family, as Dave's wife, Sandi, the mother of these seven children, died in a house fire on Waterloo's Vinton Street.

"I was at work. Wife was sleeping. One son was in the basement sleeping. He got out of the house. He couldn't get his Mom. Suddenly everything was gone," Dave recalled.

"I talked to my wife at 8:30 and everything was okay. My wife's brother called me at 5 after 9 that morning and said my house was engulfed in flames. Went home and got to the house. It was totally engulfed. It was too late."

Their Mother's death has been extremely tough on the younger girls, 13-year old Cheyanne and 10-year old Skyelr. Also struggling are the older teenage boys Andrew & James. Difficult times too, for Dave, Junior, Bradlee and Keith. And, to complicate things even more, Keith just recently broke his leg.

Dave says, "I'm all right. I'm holding up, you know. Last few weeks have been pretty rough for us. She's a great woman. You walk upon her, she'll make you smile."

"I miss here a lot. I think about her every day. I watch the videos every day. Look at her pictures everyday-what pictures we do have."

Given the magnitude of the tragedy, the family is going through some counseling right now, Dave says. "We've been working on that. We've been working on that really hard, and like I said, we're going day by day right now."

The children didn't want to speak on camera, but offered some thoughts on their Mom, including how much they love and miss her. Bradlee says he misses his Mom's hugs and kisses.

Cheyanne says she misses her Mom's awesome hugs, kisses and her huge smile. Skyelr says, she, too, misses her Mom's great smile.

"They're all doing okay. They're holding things in. They're holding things in, but, we're seeking help, so, that's all I can say right now," Dave said.  "I live my life day to day with the kids. My life is minute by minute anymore. I never know what's gonna happen. I try to keep them around people as much as I can. Try to stay active with everybody. We have friends we hang out with. We stay around each other. Just hold tight. It's all we can do. It's a day by day thing."

Area residents rushed to help the family following the fire and Dave appreciates everyone's efforts: He says. "Thanks for the help. We've gotten a lot of help. We wouldn't have the stuff we have now if it wasn't for people who donated the stuff and helped us out. The main thing is thanks for everything you know. Everybody's helped out a lot."

Dave offers a couple of special thanks to the 13th step where Sandi worked and to Robert Conway of Missing hold donuts who gave them a house to live in and that's where the family is living right now..

Sandi will be buried May 22 at the Garden of Memories, along side her father.

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