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Michigan family of seven rebuilds after devastating fire

Michigan family rebuilds after devastating fire
Michigan family rebuilds after devastating fire 04:22

(CBS DETROIT) - On March 13, 2023, AJ and Lindsay Rowe woke up at 3 a.m. to realize their Fenton home was filled with flames and smoke.

The couple began the frantic search for six of their seven children who were home and called 911.

Lindsay and her five daughters found one another and made it out onto the roof, but AJ was still searching for their 4-year-old son.

"I'm going in. I gotta go in," you can hear Lindsay say on the 911 call.

The operator quickly responded, "No, no. Do not go back in the house."

AJ dropped their son Gunner from a window on the second floor, and everyone spent time in the hospital. Four of the Rowe children were admitted to the ICU.

The family's two dogs never made it out, and their home was a total loss. Investigators know the fire started in the laundry room, but there were no specifics beyond that. Lindsay and AJ suspect it was electrical.

"It was our dream house," Lindsay said.

More than a year later, they just finished rebuilding on the same property. Most people consider moving a chore, but when you lose everything in a house fire, Lindsay says there isn't much to move.

"One thing that I did inherit was my Nana's china, so this is the only thing from before the fire that I own," she added.

Just a short walk from the family china is the family business, which was started in 2017. The barn on their property serves as headquarters for Rustic Marine, a woodworking company named after AJ, who served in the Marine Corps after September 11, 2001.

For years, the couple used their Rustic Marine loyal following to help the community. Many in the area have long admired their history of lifting other small businesses and sponsoring local teams.

"We were used to being the givers, and for the first time, we were receiving," Lindsay said.

The Rowes just moved out of a temporary trailer and into their new home, where Lindsay says all the kids have their own bedrooms for the time.

"Two weeks after we moved in, we found out we're expecting baby number eight, Lindsay quickly added while chuckling.

A new beginning in more ways than one.

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