DES MOINES, Iowa -- Less than five minutes. That's how long it took the Ruby family of Des Moines to lose everything they own, and almost lose two of their children.
April Ruby says she left her six and seven year old sons sleeping Monday night while she ran two doors down to her mothers house to pick up her 2-year old daughter, Elizabeth. When she got back home, just minutes later, she heard the smoke alarm blaring. "I immediately got on the floor and started feeling around and screaming their names," April said,"And right about the front hallway into the living room area I found Gabriel here. And I pulled him out and threw him...you know laid him on the front steps here."
Seven year old Gabriel doesn't remember much. "I was just laying down and i heard the fire alarm," he said, "It was like really dark. It was mostly dark. But it was scary."
With Gabriel safe, April went back in for her six-year-old son. "(I) went to the bed that they were laying in and was feeling on the bed and feeling around the bed. Feeling on the floor for him and yelling his name and finally I heard him say 'I'm here. And I said where? And I just started screaming his name again because I didn't hear anything and he said here and that's when I found him."
No one was seriously hurt, but the home the family shared for ten years is a total loss. Everything they owned; clothes, furniture, appliances, everything gone.
Before the fire, the family was struggling to make ends meet. Now they don't know what they'll do. "Absolutely (We are a) check to check family," Michael Ruby said, "Barely making it is exactly what we were. We didn't have anything as far as savings. We don't have any kind of insurance."
For 10-year-old Michael Jr, losing his toys and clothes was hard. But not as hard as losing his cat, Oreo. "Every single time I would walk into the door he would come up against my legs. and he would sleep with me during the night," Michael says, tears trickling down his cheek, "I'll never forget about him."
In all, the family lost three cats and a litter of kittens in the fire. That on top of the family pictures and kids drawings -- the kinds of things that make a house a home. But at least, the Rubys say, they still have each other. "I have my children," April said, "So in the long run nothing's lost."
If you would like to help the Rubys, a GoFundMe account has been set up in their name.