Craig The home of Tracey and Steve Lathrop was engulfed in flames Saturday morning.
Nobody was injured, but the mobile home was destroyed. Only a shell of the structure remains, and the inside of the home was burned completely.
Steve Lathrop had been attempting to thaw his frozen water pipes with a propane torch, but he lost control of the flame.
The home was swallowed with fire in minutes.
“It was just like a spark in a tinder box,” he said.
Tracey Lathrop got the call about the fire while she was working with a client at The Memorial Hospital.
“I ran through the hospital and looked down the hill and saw smoke going into the air,” she said.
Craig Fire/Rescue responded to the fire call at 10 a.m., and it took responders about an hour to fully contain the blaze. Crews were on scene until about 1 p.m, said Battalion Chief Troy Hampton, of Craig Fire/Rescue.
Tracey Lathrop said she ran down the icy street toward her burning home, calling for her husband.
“I was sprinting like I hadn’t sprinted since I was a kid,” she said.
Steve Lathrop, an army veteran who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008, was in an ambulance on oxygen being treated for smoke inhalation. He had run into the burning home to save Tracey Lathrop’s two dachshunds, Captain Caveman and Ladybug.
“He didn’t get his coat, but he got my dogs,” she said. “I ran to the ambulance and just held him. We have each other. Period. That’s all we need.”
But Steve and Tracey Lathrop lost everything in the fire, from winter clothes to socks. So family and friends of the Lathrops are helping pull together donation funds to help the couple get back on their feet.
James “Robbie” Robinson and Sybil Schmedeke, friends of the Lathrops, are part of the effort. They have been putting donation jars in Craig businesses and are trying to spread the word.
“It’s hard to imagine losing everything,” Robinson said. Tracey Lathrop “doesn’t even have a brush for her hair.”
Tracey Lathrop is a clinician at Mind Springs Health and provides counseling services to people in crisis.
“Her job is to help people,” Schmedeke said. “Now, it’s time for people to help her.”
Friends and family set up a donation fund account at the Bank of the West and created a Facebook page, Help the Lathrop Family. People also can donate online at two sites: Help the Lathrop Family on Give Forward and Lathrop Family Fire Fund on Fundly.
One of the couple’s daughters, Patricia Lathrop, said she is glad to see her family and the community of Craig coming together.
“Just seeing what the community has already done is heartwarming,” she said.
Steve and Tracey Lathrop are staying with one of their sons currently. The couple said they feel lucky to live in such a giving community.
“I feel so blessed to live in this community,” Tracey Lathrop said.
People who want to help can visit the Help the Lathrop Family Facebook page or call Allie Lijedahl at 970-620-6490 to coordinate their donation.
Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.