Family in Auburn, Neb., loses home, all possessions in house fire

Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 5:53 PM CST
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AUBURN, Neb. (WOWT) - A disabled man barely escaped a house fire in Auburn, Neb., before the entire house went up in flames.

Fortunately, the man is OK, but one of three dogs died.

Dramatic video captured on a Ring camera early Sunday morning as Jerry Snider falls from his wheelchair escaping the blaze. His right leg was amputated in December, and Jerry said he heard glass breaking above his head.

“The police showed up and helped him out and we tried telling them about the dogs, we could hear them barking but then the officers had to move back that’s when the porch collapsed and the footage ended.”

The Ring camera notified Jerry’s daughter, Shawnee, about the fire. Her husband, Eric Yost, was able to talk with Jerry through the Ring camera.

“He kind of threw himself off the porch, police showed up and helped him out... but then the officers had to move back because the porch collapsed and that’s when the footage ended,” Shawnee Snider said.

To make matters worse, Jerry’s family was out of town: Shawnee and Eric took their two children to Mount Rushmore for vacation on Friday.

Jerry Snider lived with the couple awaiting disability benefits from his amputation.

“I was trying to get a sense of how bad it was.”

During the long drive to Auburn from the Black Hills, Eric was learning more about the fire.

“The whole time I was driving I got updates from multiple people so I kind of knew what I was rolling up on when I did get here,” he said.

“I almost felt like maybe it was a dream... just to be woke up and see that on your phone and then worry about how bad it is.”

“I didn’t think I’d ever be standing in this position.”

Once they saw Jerry was safe, concern shifted to the fire of the dogs. A family friend joined in the search.

“She heard whimpering in the back door the back door led to the basement and we went down there with a flashlight and we found one of the dogs... alive,” Shawnee said.

Two dogs ran into the basement; one didn’t make it. Meanwhile, the third dog was running around, and no one could catch him.

“He wouldn’t go with... They said the firefighters had to shoo him from the back door because he was out here for hours and hours trying to get back into that house. We believe he knew those two dogs were in that basement.”

“Down here is where they — where she, my female — was over there, and the mom dog was over here on the floor and submerged.”

The dog stuck it out in the basement for almost 12 hours, somehow surviving the smoke and fire.

The house was a total loss. All of their possession inside are also gone.

”I’m thankful that he’s OK and at least we found one of the dogs — that she was down in the basement and maybe away from some of the smoke and stuff. “

If you want to help this family, there’s a GoFundMe page set up for the Yost-Snider family.

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