It started as an innocent Valentine's Day surprise from a friend and ended in disaster for Sue Downes and her family.

"My first reaction was 'that's my house, that's my house.' And I was already crying and torn up," said Downes.

North Tazewell fire department investigators think the fire was started by a friend cooking a surprise dinner.

After placing food in the oven, the friend went outside and began fixing up Downes' wheelchair. That's when the fire began.

The fire took nearly everything inside the house, including the life of one of her dogs. But it left one sign she said helped her restore her faith.

"Just the Bible. The fireman brought me a Bible that did not burn," said Downes.

This is not Downes' first time going face to face with adversity. She lost both her legs while deployed in Afghanistan. Her humvee hit an IED and she was the only survivor.

"It's like everything started coming together, we were all happy again and then it's just like bam. I hurt more for my kids than I do for myself. I can survive. But when they lose everything they have ever had for 15 years, that's hard," said Downes.

Downes and her two daughters sat down at the nearest McDonalds for dinner.

After spending the weekend at her mother's home, Downes is bringing the family to their next destination. Her insurance is paying for the family to stay in a hotel. The next step is rebuilding the home with the help of insurance and members of the community.

"Very shocking because you know a lot of people are helping us. I didn't expect a lot of people to help us," said Sue's daughter Alexis.

One organization that builds homes for severely wounded veterans stepped in about a year ago, saying they want to help build Downes a new home. After hearing about the Valentine's Day fire, SAH Mission started pushing for more donations, which now add up to around $10,000.

You can donate through their 'you caring' website.

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