Sitting at his neighbor’s kitchen table, Dave Hausler flipped through pages and pages of digital photos of his family, remembering.
“They were my life,” he said.
Just four days before, Hausler lost his wife, two children and mother-in-law. April Hausler, 31; her mother, Anna Monagan, 56; Jimmy Hausler, 10; and 7-year-old Dawn Hausler died after fire ripped through their Ridgeway home on Spade Road early Thursday morning.
"When I got the phone call, I just, I couldn't believe it,” Hausler said. “All I heard was, ‘the house is fully engulfed. You need to get home.’”
Hausler was 20 miles outside of
”That's what kept me going - that I knew I'd be able to wrap my arms around them when I got here.”
Instead, Hausler found himself in the arms of his own parents. They stopped him at the end of his street around 9 a.m., before he had a chance to see his home destroyed. They were the ones who told him what happened.
”The moment I saw my dad’s face and my mom’s face, I knew,” he said. “I just bolted. I bolted, but my dad grabbed ahold of me. From what I understand, he almost tackled me, so I wouldn't run down here. I just lost it.”
He has been trying to keep it together ever since, but it has been tough. Hausler walked into his charred home for the first time Sunday.
“That was hard,” he said. “I walked to the first step of the porch but couldn’t go in. I just broke down. I had a real hard time walking into my bedroom.”
He says his home reminds him of the first time he laid eyes on April. It was love at first sight.
“She tried to make me the best man I could be,” he said. “She was my strength, and she was my guider.”
April and Dave married in 1996. One year later, April gave birth to Jimmy.
Jimmy who was autistic had been going to
Hausler says his younger sister, Dawn, always looked after her older brother and lit up a room. Hausler says his children had bright futures ahead of them.
“I thought for sure she was going to be an artist or a mechanic like her mom,” he said. “I thought for sure Jimmy was going to be a train conductor or a truck driver.”
And there is one thought that’s getting Hausler through each day.
“I know I’ll see them again. I know that for a fact.”
Hausler says he hopes to continue on with plans to start his own trucking company. He says it was a dream of his and his wife.
A funeral for the family members is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at the