Surveying the charred heap of a lifetime's worth of possessions outside their double-wide mobile home in Lothian, the owners learned of the fire, which spread through their trailer while they were driving relatives back to West Virginia.
"We weren't here,” Frankie Brocato said. “We just took her cousin up, because we brought them down for Thanksgiving... the grandkids and all."
But their son, John Lynch, and his wife feared losing far more after they awoke at one end of the trailer and discovered flames shooting up the master bedroom walls at the other end.
"It sounded like a train when I opened the back door up to get the hose it was like, 'Whooofffff!' Lynch said. “I mean it was loud and the fire shot right by me and it went out and I swear I watched it go right up the roof."
Lynch suffered slight burns about his face and then scrambled to get his wife, three dogs and a tropical bird out of the burning home.
While the two couples lost most of their belongings, they are counting themselves lucky.
It appears the fire started within a few feet of 16 large canisters of highly-explosive oxygen, and the intense heat peeled the paint right off of them.
"He told me... he said, 'You need to call them people and tell them to come get them,' he said, 'because they could still blow up,'" Lynch said.
Firefighters also shut off the gas from a pair of 200-gallon propane tanks, which survived the flames intact.
As he stood outside in near-freezing temperatures in nothing more than his underwear watching the fire spread, Lynch says he could only think of the tremendous loss.
That is, until a fire investigator put things into perspective for him.
"He told me I was lucky and I was just trying to get out of there,” Lynch said. “I didn't care how I was coming out of that house. If I was Butterball naked I'd have been out of that house. That's the first time I've ever been in a fire."
Also among the belongings destroyed by the fire---Christmas gifts that the family had already purchased for their grandchildren.
While investigators haven't officially ruled on the source of the fire, Lynch says they believe it started at an electrical socket.