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Hulen Family Left Homeless After Christmas Fire

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HULEN, Okla._ It was Christmas nightmare for a Comanche County family who lost everything in a fire that broke out while they were sleeping early Christmas morning.

Fire officials in Hulen say it all started shortly before 1 a.m. Christmas morning and the blaze quickly took over the home. Luckily, the three people inside got out, but unfortunately there was no time left to salvage some of their most prized possessions.

The Christmas the Mills family was hoping for turned into a heartbreaking holiday for them after being woken up in the middle of the night to their couch on fire. When crews arrived on scene shortly thereafter, it was all hands on deck to try and save whatever they could.

Hulen Fire Chief Chris Carter lives less than a mile down the road and he could see the flames from his front porch. 

"I knew it was going to be bad," said Carter.

When fire crews arrived to this rural home shortly before one in the morning Christmas day, the fire was through the roof and after fighting flames for more than eight hours, the house was gone, along with so many of the family's treasures, from trophies and old yearbooks, to pictures and antiques.

"They lost everything they had, they lost everything they had."

He says more than 30 firefighters from four area volunteer engines were battling the fierce flames.

"It was a very large operation of course we have freezing temperatures which is going to cause us some issues with the pumps and things like that."

Donavan Mills says his prized mounted deer heads are something he'll miss. For Mrs. Mills it's a tea set passed down from her grandmother. According to Carter an ember from a wood-burning stove landed on a nearby couch, setting it ablaze. The fire spread from there. 

"It's tough for us to do our jobs sometimes regardless but it even makes it worse when it's people that we know and people that we see almost everyday," said Carter.

The family is very grateful, saying the working smoke detectors in their house are the reason they're alive.

"Cheap insurance, of course, if that fire alarm wouldn't have gone off and they wouldn't have realized something was wrong; they could have very well perished in that fire," Carter said.

The Red Cross stepped in today to help the family by giving them a gift card. The family said they plan to use it for personal items and clothing.

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