ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — No one wants to imagine what their life would look like if they lost everything due to a tragedy. But when tragedy does strike, like your home catching on fire, it’s nice to have a community to love and support you.
Studio 814 personality and chef, Janet Degennaro sits down to share the tragic story of how she lost nearly everything in a recent fire.
Janet and her husband, Robert, had just finished grilling hamburgers when the propane tank exploded. Janet was cleaning up inside when she heard all of the windows crashing at once. Scared to death, she knew she had to do whatever she could to get out. She saw the black smoke billowing out of the home as she screamed for help, crying out for her husband, “Bobby! Bobby!!” She thought he was gone.
When Bobby made it out to the front yard where Janet was, they were thankful that the two of them had made it out alive. Their dog, Ravy Gravy, was not able to survive. Fire Investigators say the dog was frightened, crawled under a bed, and died of smoke inhalation. The couple had their dog Ravy for 7 years. She was adopted from the Huntingdon County Humane Society as a rescue. Janet and Bobby loved their dog dearly and pampered their good girl. She was always sporting a seasonal bandana and had her nails painted a funky color. She will always be remembered, as Janet plans to take Ravy with her in spirit as she goes on adventures or everyday errands.
“Don’t be alarmed if you see me out with her urn,” says Janet.
While losing their home was devastating, the two say losing their dog was the worst. They’re absolutely grateful to still have each other. “I have my husband,” says Janet.
Janet says it only took about 10 minutes for the fire to completely destroy the home. They lost everything, but the clothes they had on their backs. “We had to go out and get new social security cards, new debit cards, new licenses,” says Janet. And while many of those items can be replaced, what can never return, are the more sentimental items. “Things of my mammas, or anything from our past…family photos, it’s all gone,” says Janet.
The community support and their faith in God has really helped Janet and Bobby through this tough time. The couple says that everywhere they go, strangers and picking up the tabs, or hand them money, sending their love and support.
The insurance company plans to rebuild the home, and replace some things to get the couple back up on their feet.
Janet is known for her appearances on Studio 814. She’s usually sharing a recipe in the kitchen and rattling off fun jokes with her southern mannerisms. She’s from Tennessee, so everyone gets a kick out of hearing her talk.
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Janet is part of the Studio 814 family, and we want to help her feel all of the love and support in the world. While we try to focus on the good things that happen in the area, we do have to recognize that bad things can and do happen every day. They affect everyday people, and the ones we love.
While we can’t prevent these types of things from happening, we can rally around them and let them know how much they mean to us. We are grateful to still have Janet and Bobby with us.
If you would like to help them in any way, whether it’s sending a card, gift card, or a check — their address is located down below.
PO BOX 323 Altoona, PA 16602