Wimer, Ore. -- A burning ember may be to blame for the fire that tore through a Wimer family's roof.

Homeowner Sue Ann Wardle said she and her husband were just about to go to bed when she heard a strange beeping noise. She traced the sound to the upstairs smoke alarm and found the roof of her Wimer home engulfed in flames.

She said without the smoke alarm going off when it did she and her husband may have not made it out.

"I don't believe that fire alarm would have awakened us. It would have been after the house was more fully enflamed," Wardle said.

25 firefighters rushed to the home around 10:30 Wednesday night. Evans Valley Fire Chief William Fuller said they suspect the fire started in the chimney. The couple had fire in their wood stove earlier that evening.

Firefighters were able to keep the fire from doing major damage to the first and second floor, but water damage ruined almost everything in the house the family lived in for nearly four decades.

Now they're digging through the wreckage, and doing what they can to save precious memories.

"Lots of pictures, lots of old family furniture. We're fortunate," Walders said.

Even though the home where the Walder's raised their four children in is now unliveable.

"We won't leave. We'll rebuild something here. Roots go too far," she said.

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