Family who survived house fire searching for hero cat

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Elise Anzaldua

The Acklins are thanking God after surviving a house fire earlier this week, but they’re after one more blessing: Finding the family cat.

On Tuesday, Debbie Acklin said she was woken up by her daughter around 3:30 in the morning amid a home filled with black smoke.

As the Tuscaloosa Patch originally reported, Acklin said it was her tuxedo cat Sebastian’s yowling that helped the family find their way through the smoke- and blaze-filled home to safety.

By the time everyone was outside, the Northwood Lake home in Northport was engulfed in flames.

“Anyplace we would’ve been sleeping was destroyed 15 minutes after we walked out of the house,” Acklin said. “So if that wasn’t God, I don’t know what was. And I truly believe it was and I truly believe as hard as it is to go through that it was a blessing because now we have a chance to remake our lives.”

Some cherished family items may be lost forever, though.

“I thought, ‘my wedding band’s gone, I can’t go without my wedding band,’ ” Acklin said. “I’ve been married for, well this year will be our 50th anniversary, and I can’t imagine not having my wedding band on.”

One of her first priorities, she said, was getting a new ring.

“I have my little Belk $20 ring now that I will wear until I get my wedding ring replaced,” Acklin said. “There’s no telling when that’ll be, but nothing is as special as the one you lost.”

Their family has gotten a huge outpouring of love and support, even from strangers, she said. And that’s made the tragedy bearable, alongside knowing Sebastian is out there somewhere.

There’s a GoFundMe that’s been set up for the Acklin family. If you’re interested in donating, you can do so right here.


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