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Thankful they're alive: Brookfield family loses dog, three cats and belongings in fire

BROOKFIELD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Brookfield family's home is a total loss after a fire Tuesday. Now, they're trying to raise money after losing everything. 

The fire damaged the home in the 3400 block of N Calhoun Tuesday, but the family is thankful they're alive. 

"I grew up in this house," Tausha Ziebart said. "It was everything. So many memories and now we don't have it anymore."

Ziebart's grandmother 80-year-old Stella Olsen has lived in the home for 53 years. Neighbor Mohammad Mohammad was home Tuesday morning.

"It was a huge fire," he said. "We witnessed our neighbors going out of the house quickly and they were screaming let's get out of here."

The Brookfield Fire Department said a candle started the fire. Ziebart said the candle was in the laundry room when the home caught fire.

"The glass actually busted and that's how it just went up in flames," Ziebart said.

According to the latest data from the National Fire Protection Association, in 2015 about 8,700 house fires were started by a candle and from 2011-2015, 82 people died because of candle fires.

Four family members were home at the time of the fire and all got out alive. Ziebart's aunt has special needs and she's happy she made it. 

"My aunt actually crawled through a window," Ziebart said. "We're happy she had the logic to do that."

The family has three dogs, one ran out, the other was carried out, but the third, Tootsie died in the flames. Their three cats did not survive either.

The family is hoping to raise $100,000 through a GoFundMe page. Their insurance company will cover the cost of a home of equal value but is requiring Olsen to pay off her mortgage first.

"With that, what's left is $100,000 and that's not enough to find a new place or re-build," Ziebart said.

Click here for the donation page.

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