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'The blanket that was on me was on fire'; Two Rivers veteran emotionally returns to his burnt home

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Posted at 3:42 PM, May 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-03 17:53:21-04

TWO RIVERS (NBC 26) — On Thursday night a Two Rivers house caught on fire with the owner managing to escape. I spoke with that man after he returned to examine the home he loves.

  • A fire tore through a Two Rivers home late on Tuesday night.
  • Gene Kouba lives there and returned today to see what he could recover.
  • Kouba said he has been through a lot in his life and he needs to stay strong.

Gene Kouba is still processing what happened to his home.
"I woke up and the blanket that was on me was on fire,” Kouba said. “It was a hard night. I started thinking of all of the stuff I have to do now."

On that list is to recover whatever he can.

"Oh my pictures. They're all destroyed,” Kouba said. "Those can't be replaced."

He's heartbroken, but as a veteran he says he's learned to stay positive.

"I went through a lot in my life so it's just another hurdle that I have to cross,” Kouba says.

A restoration expert at the home told me that, although there was the loss of many belongings, he hopes gene could move back in within five to six months.

A long time for gene to deal with this, but he says it is important that he remains strong.

"All the positive things that have happened to you, you write them down and start reading the list,” explained Kouba. “That will take your mind off of your bad stuff. That's the best advice I ever got in my life."

Gene stayed with a friend last night and now is working with veteran's affairs to figure out a temporary solution for his living situation.