Joshua Crosby, 28, and his fiancee Shayna Bradley, 23, were having a nice dinner out on the town Tuesday night until they returned home to find a raging fire had claimed all of their possessions, as well as their beloved dog Bentley.
"We were gone at dinner, and then we came back and the whole house was on fire," Crosby said. "My puppy was inside, my service animal, and he didn't make it. Everything was gone. It was terrible."
Bradley is seven months pregnant and the couple didn't have insurance.
"We just got our nursery put together," Crosby said. "I spent last week setting it all up. All the baby blankets and diapers, everything you would be doing to prepare for a baby coming into the world is just gone. I could care less about material possessions, but that's the big thing. We have a baby coming in two months."
Crosby had the service dog because of anxiety issues, which he said the fire didn't help. He lost his glasses and medication in the blaze.
Crews with Missoula Rural Fire responded to the 9-1-1 call in the 2800 block of South Avenue West about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
They found flames and smoke visible and made an interior attack on the fire. Initial reports were that there might be someone trapped inside the residence.
Firefighters were initially successful in knocking down the blaze, but it had already spread to the attic. After a search of the building, firefighters found nobody inside. Crosby and Bradley came home later.
Missoula Rural investigators have been called in to try to figure out what started the fire. Chief Bill Colwell said that while the investigation isn’t complete because he is waiting to interview the couple, his department has determined the fire was “accidental in nature.”
He said he hasn’t yet determined the exact cause.
Russ Pooley, Crosby's boss at Pooley Excavating, had the somber task of burying Crosby's dog Wednesday morning.
“They lost everything, and right before Christmas,” he said. “We have property so we’re going to bury their dog. It’s terrible.”
The entire inside of the house is a blackened, charred mess. The one bright spot is that the couple's cat made it out alive.
Crosby said that the only two things he was able to salvage from the home were a necklace and his fiance's wedding band.
"That was it," he said. "Everything else was destroyed. We lost our laptop. I had just bought a bunch of presents. I had an autographed poster from Bruce Miller of the San Francisco 49ers, and I got them in the mail that day. I had just left to get a frame for it. It makes me so sad."
Crosby said that the American Red Cross has put the two up in a hotel.
"They helped us out with clothes and stuff like that," he said.
Crosby said that a donation fund has been set up in the name of Crosby-Bradley at the Missoula Federal Credit Union. He still hasn't found a physical location, like a storage facility, where he could have people drop off baby items and other goods.