Fire Takes Woman's Home, Not Her Spirit

A Rib Lake woman's vacation away came to a screeching stop Monday morning after her home burned to the ground with her five pets trapped inside.

Luckily, she wasn't home. Firefighters told her she would have been gone with her home had she been.

Lorie miller sifted through tattered, crisp memories just days after her mother got a phone call at 5:14 a.m., Monday, Nov. 11.

"I got in the car here, and I could see the sky was just red," Dianne Fliehs, Miller's mother, said. "The sparks were flying way down here. It was horrible. It was like an inferno."

Miller was gone on vacation in Florida visiting her father when her house burned to the ground.

"We went down there (to the house when Miller returned home from vacation), and that's when reality hit me: that my house was gone, all the way to the ground," Miller said.

The fire took way more than material things down with it.

"It took my animals," Miller said. "I lost my three dogs, my 2 cats and my turutle."

She built the house with her late-husband Dave Miller.

"We built it with our own hands. Every piece of lumber, every nail we put in that house," Miller said. "It's all gone, totaly gone."

Miller's husband passed of cancer a year ago.

Miller remembers her home as "beautiful" and "big."

"We had 17 foot cathedral celings in our living room," Miller said. "We had oack cabinets in the kitchen that we just got done. The living room was really big. I had a pond in there where the turtle was."

Rib Lake Fire Department Chief Russell Bullis said the beautiful home flashed up in flames in seconds. Miller's fire was one of the first fires they've had in a month.

"It was early morning. Roads were slippery, a lot of wind to deal with," Bullis said. "We didn't know what we had other than a stucture fire."

Tattered photos, a family member pulled out of the rubbel after the fire was extingusished, are the only things that survived other than the cover to her late-husband's urn.

"His urn. His ashes," Miller said. "They'll never come back."

Some things are gone, and grief takes its course.

"Oh, my Lord. I thanked the Lord so many times Monday morning that she wasn't in there (the house)," Fliehs said. "Because she'd never of got out She's all I got."

Good memories she had are helping her heal toward new memories she'll have.

"I wanna rebuild at the same spot," Miller said. "That's my place, and that's where I want to stay. I don't want to go anywhere else. I want to live there."

Bullis said the fire's cause isn't determined yet, and it's still under investigation.

Miller said she has nothing but the clothes that she packed for her Florida vacation. Everything else is gone.

If you'd like to help, there is a fund open for you to donate at Lakewood Credit Union in Rib Lake (address: 1003 Railroad St. PO Box 224 Rib Lake, WI 54470) (Phone: 715-427-5201).

Other places to donate include:

The Bird's Nest
729 Mc Comb Ave.
Rib Lake, WI

BB's Aquatics & More
301 S. Main ST
Medford WI.

Ed's IGA
801 Mc Comb Ave
Rib Lake WI.

Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Questions may be sent to
Please provide detailed information.
All comments must adhere to the discussion rules.

powered by Disqus
WSAW-TV 1114 Grand Ave. Wausau, WI 54403
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 231846611 -
Gray Television, Inc.