Vernon Phillips and his partner, Bonnie Roberts, had been out for about an hour when fire ripped through their home at 41674 County Line Road in the town of Antwerp Thursday evening.
The couple lost one of their pet cats in the blaze, but three others and a dog survived.
The cat who died, Flag, had been the subject of a children's book written by Phillips, "A Reindeer Named Flag."
Phillips and Roberts have yet to be able to go back into the house to see what, if anything, can be salvaged, but they fear irreplaceable photos and their Christmas costumes are gone.
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