Fire-hit Prineville family buoyed by community help

'I honestly thought I was going to die in there'

Prineville couple escapes house fire on Christmas Eve

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - A Prineville couple is picking up the pieces, with the community's help, after a fire ripped through their home on Christmas Eve. 

The fire was reported shortly before 10 a.m. Sunday at a home on Northwest Eighth Street. The fire started in the garage and quickly spread to the attic. 

Black smoke and large flames sent Michael Egbert into panic mode. 

"Just explosion, pretty much is how I can explain it -- just engulfed everything," he recalled Tuesday. 

Egbert said he and his friend were in the shop, trying to start their snowmobiles, when one of the snowmobile backfired. 

"I honestly thought I was going to die in there," he said. "I didn't know how to get out. The door was blocked, the other door was shut, and me and Zach eventually opened the main door and got out of there." 

Egbert rushed into his home to get his girlfriend, Skye Larson, out of the house. 

Larson, who's expecting a baby boy in March, said she saw the flames grow outside the kitchen window and grabbed everything she could. 

Larson said the roof caved in over their bedroom. 

Other neighbors jumped in to help and grabbed presents and baby clothes. The American Red Cross sent disaster responders to assist with immediate needs.

The Prineville community is stepping in to help as well, with the couple's friends dropping off baby clothes and gift cards to get them through the holiday season. 

Larson said the response from the community has been enormous, and they'll pay it forward when they get back on their feet. 

The couple is grateful to have each other, and thankful for a community that's helping them get by. 

Neighbors have set up a GoFundme page to help the couple get back on their feet. 

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