Waconia family reunites with sheriff’s deputy who helped them escape a fire in their home
It was an emotional, heartfelt reunion in Waconia on Saturday.
“Give him a really big hug,” says Dee DeLange about the man her family calls a hero. “I could’ve been burying four people in the last week, and I’m not, I’m taking care of them.”
For the first time since a devastating, potentially deadly house fire at their home, Dru and Chrissy DeLange met with Carver County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Roble.
“They said we had seconds left,” Chrissy recalls. “So, I mean he showed up just in time.”
Video from Roble’s body cam shows the fire that consumed the DeLange’s house just after midnight on August 9.
“I woke up to a roaring sound,” Dru says. “And we looked out our bedroom window which faces the street, and the flames are going by the window.”
With their fire alarms blaring, the couple grabbed their kids, three-year-old Freya, and one-year-old Finn — and finding a stairwell blocked by heat and smoke, retreated to a second-floor bedroom.
“We went up to the kids’ room and barricaded ourselves in and called 911,” Dru declares. “Our focus was just getting the kids out, that was all that mattered.”
“We were taking turns holding the kids out of the window, the second-story window,” Chrissy adds. “So, the window popped open, and he’s holding out one kid at a time, just for some air.”
Roble was among those hearing the call of four people trapped.
“When I got there, I could hear the family yelling,” he says. “Came around the corner and I could see them in the window holding a baby out the window and they said we’re trapped, we can’t breathe.”
The body cam video shows Roble sprinting over, then catching the children, one by one, as their parents dropped from that second-story window.
“It’s a pretty tall second floor and I just knew I didn’t have a ladder and needed to get them out of there,” the deputy says.
With the children safe, the DeLange’s jumped.
The couple both have vertebrae injuries and suffered from smoke inhalation, but they say they are grateful that Roble was there.
“Without him, we couldn’t have gotten our kids out,” Dru says. “We all would’ve been way worse off, probably would’ve had to jump with the kids. I don’t even want to think about that.”
The family were all transported to HCMC.
After some observation, doctors found Freya and Finn only had minor injuries.
Dru and Chrissy are now wearing back braces, but hope they’ll be able to stop using them in a couple of weeks.
“We’re very lucky,” she says. “We’re very lucky we got away with broken backs and our kids are so healthy, and they’re adjusting well, I think.”
On Saturday — Waconia residents rallied around the family at their brewery, Waconia Brewing Company.
Dee DeLange says the community has been a huge help, donating food, clothes, and toys to the family.
“What we’ve gotten back in support is way beyond what any of us expected,” she exclaims. “We can’t thank people enough for everything that they’ve done for us.”
The DeLange’s house is considered a total loss, but on Saturday, the family found a new place to live.
Their two dogs, Loki and Clover, did not survive.
An official investigation for the cause of the fire continues.
The young family says they’re counting their blessings — and say they’re thankful for Deputy Roble.
“Give everyone you love a hug, maybe even give your pets a hug or a pet on the nose,” Chrissy says. “You can never be too prepared, I think.”
A crowd-funding effort has been started to help get the family back on their feet. You can find that link here.