Over two years Janna and Marc Preston took in nearly 200 dogs set to be euthanized in kill shelters. The Preston's provided a foster home for the dogs until a forever home could be found.
They cared for the dogs in an old brick school house built in 1900 that they converted into a home.
"It is old," Marc Preston said. "We bought it about three or four years ago, fixed it up [and] made it look pretty with lots of room for the dogs. It puts a big smile on your face when you really save a dog."
Friday night the home that had saved so many dogs could not be saved from a fire. Around 5:30 that night the fire was discovered near the front porch of the home. The fire spread quickly and the Prestons had only a few minutes to get their family and 11 dogs out of the home.
"It was chaotic," Preston said. "Everybody was in a panic mode."
Sue Fredericksen, a neighbor, helped carry the dogs to a fenced area of her yard.
"It was tough to watch because somebody's life is just going up in flames," Fredericksen said.
When they got the dogs to Fredericksen's yard, they counted them. There were 10 dogs. One dog, a four-month-old black lab puppy named Reggae was missing.
Volunteer firefighters from Nunn responded to the call within minutes. But, when they arrived the flames were already through the roof of the home.
A half hour after the fire started the roof collapsed and the home was lost.
Firefighters continued to pour water on what was left of the home and when they were able to safely search through the debris they found Reggae alive.
The firefighters carried Reggae out of the debris to an emergency medical team. They gave the dog oxygen before transporting it to a veterinarian.
"The veterinarian said, 'fire chief, whoever told you to put him on oxygen saved the dogs life,'" Preston said. "His new name is Lucky instead of Reggae."
The Preston family focused all of their efforts on getting people and animals out of the home during the fire. They escaped with only the clothes on their back.
Long before the fire was extinguished efforts were underway by the community to help them.
"You'd have to say love," Fredericksen said. "I mean everybody just chipped in. The fire chief called his wife and she brought diapers up. Within a day they had a fundraiser planned."
"Marc's done a lot for the rescue community [and] for these dogs and it is only fitting that this situation is reversed for him now," Joe Clingan, Nunn's Chief of Police, said.
Neighbors have been collecting everything from clothing to furniture for the Preston family. A fund has been established for the family at Home State Bank at 3227 S. Timberline Road in Fort Collins. The fund is in the name of Janna & Marc Preston.
"I've never been on the receiving side," Preston said. "I always liked to give."
The family that used their home to rescue dogs is now being rescued by their neighbors.
"It was everybody in the whole town," Preston said. "The whole community is now saving us."
The dog will be available for adoption at Retriever Rescue of Colorado.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)