Sand Springs couple recovering after being saved from fire, flames destroyed their home and business

SAND SPRINGS, Okla. - Hours after the fire was completely put out, smoke was still rising tonight from a pile of rubble. The rubble is all that is left from Doug and Lois Harris' home in Sand Springs, decades of family history now gone.

"Mainly pictures and antiques that were passed down from family," granddaughter Shelby Harris said.

Doug and Lois are proud great-grandparents, keepers of Harris family history and the family's backbone. Both are now recovering after a very tough day. 

"I think they are the ones that keep it together." Shelby said. "All of us. I mean it all centers around them really."

Last night, the smell of thick smoke first woke Doug.

"My grandpa was actually sleeping closest to this wall," Shelby said, pointing upstairs to where her grandparents lived. "Since his surgery it is actually more comfortable for him to sleep on a recliner than flat on his back. So he was sleeping there."

Doug woke Lois and they escaped onto the roof, the smoke downstairs was too thick. Then they waited. 

With departments from Sand Springs and Tulsa responding, eventually firefighters saved the couple, but their home and much of their business of over 40 years is now lost. 

Doug's Sand Springs Rebuilders, a family business that Doug's kids and grandkids worked at was downstairs. Behind that the family had a ceramic business. Doug and Lois' apartment was above the business. 

Fire crews said the fire began just before 3 a.m. at 106 North Main in Sand Springs. Crews recovered the bodies of 11 cats in the fire.

Family said Lois and Doug always took in cats, would spay and neuter and then look after them. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but the Harris' building was deemed a total loss. Two other businesses next door suffered smoke and water damage.

Even though Doug suffered a heart attack in November and cancer a year ago, family says he will be back on his feet. He rarely takes time off from working. 

"He is like the Energizer Bunny," his daughter Tammy Willemstein said. "He never quits. When he had this heart attack, that is probably the most I think he took. 6 days."

Tonight, Doug remains in the hospital, recovering from smoke inhalation. Lois out of the hospital after receiving treatment, but is still hurting.

"She is devastated. I think it really has taken a toll on her," Shelby said. "But we try to keep her happy. I think it is just going to take some time."

Family this evening recovered a few very small keepsakes from the pile of rubble to bring to Lois, in hopes of raising her spirits. 

At the same time, friends and family are rallying around the Harris family. A Facebook page has been started in the family's name https://www.facebook.com/helptheharrisfamilysandsprings. Family said friends and complete strangers have donated clothes, money and other items for Doug and Lois. 

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