VILLA GROVE, Ill. (WCIA) – It started like any other day for Alivia Combs and her family.

“Nothing was really weird about the house, you know, we left. We said our goodbyes. I was going to hang out with my grandma. It was all chill,” she said.

Until, her grandma got a call.

“I didn’t know what happened. She was just saying ‘Alivia, get your shoes on. We gotta go,’ and then she told me and I don’t know, I just kinda lost it,” she said.

That call was about a fire that started in the kitchen and filled the house with smoke. The family thinks it was electrical. It damaged nearly everything inside, leaving the home unlivable, and the hardest part for the family, killing their three dogs.

“My heart kind of sank because we’ve had Sam for years and we saved all three of those dogs’ lives, and it makes me feel better that they died knowing that we cared and that we saved their lives,” Elizabeth Foster, the step-sister, said. “it’s alright though. I just hope they didn’t suffer. It’s just like they were everything to us. Everything”

Now, the family has moved in with a relative in St. Joseph.

“She lost everything she ever had but we can rebuild I mean start over,” Elizabeth said.

“We pretty much just need everything. Anything anybody would be willing to give would be helpful. Anything that they can give,” Caleb Foster, the step-brother, said.

They said make sure you have a plan for if something like this were to ever happen to you.

“Just listen to your parents when they tell you to prepare for a fire, and find ways to prepare your dogs if you’re not home. So, they can get out,” Elizabeth said. “If you guys are home, so they can get out. Just listen to them when they tell you to prepare and come up with a plan and know what to do if anything happens because it’s unexpected.”

If you want to help, you can. There’s an account started at Gifford State Bank called Combs Donations, where you can make monetary donations. You can also reach out at or to help in other ways.