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Akron house fire derails couple's dream; some of their pets did not survive

The Akron Fire Department continues to investigate the cause of the fire.
Akron Fire E Archwood Ave.
Posted at 10:37 PM, Jun 19, 2024

AKRON, Ohio — The Akron Fire Department continues to investigate a fire that heavily damaged, if not destroyed, a home on East Archwood Avenue. It happened Saturday afternoon.

Dani and Cheda Heaton have lived in the home for the past decade.

“The uncertainty is what is the hardest part,” Dani said. “Because you go from having a house with all your stuff in it to not."

The couple’s neighbor, Jim Haboush, said he was relaxing on his patio when he heard two bangs and saw smoke fill the air. He ran to the burning house to make sure no one was inside.

"I just want to go help you know… run it over. Then the door's locked. (I) went around the side (and) kept beating on the door and nobody came."

The Heaton’s said they were at a baby shower when the fire started. They learned something was wrong when they checked their doggy cam to ensure their pets were OK.

"I'm like, ‘I can't see them.’” Cheda said. “So, then I look at my Ring camera, and I seen all the fire trucks are outside of our house and banging on our door."

The couple rushed home, not knowing what condition they'd find their home. They said even more importantly, they were worried about their pets, whom they consider their children.

“We're like, ‘Where are our kids?’” Cheda said. “We had 10 animals in the home."

The couple said they had five dogs and five cats.

The fire department rescued several animals, gave them oxygen and took them to a local veterinary hospital.

The Heatons said all of their dogs survived and one cat. They noted three cats died, and one cat is still missing.

The fire damaged a structure and derailed the Heatons’ plan to purchase Dani’s childhood home.

“We were buying it from them (parents),” Dani said. “And all the time we were like, ‘okay, only x amount of time left until the land contract's over and this house is ours.'"

A verified GoFundMe account is raising money to help the Heatons and their pets, including replacing a wheelchair and other medical equipment Cheda depends on.

Cheda hasn’t been able to get back inside the home to collect important things due to the wheelchair ramp being destroyed in the fire.

Now, they wait to figure out their next steps.

"The waiting game- waiting for insurance to tell us what they're gonna do, wondering where we're gonna end up until the house is either livable or you know, something else is done," Dani said.

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