Family Loses Everything While They’re Away at Disney World

fireman on porch of burning house
Credit: Gaughan Family

An Ohio family vacationing at Disney World this week is enjoying their time at the Central Florida parks, but they will fly back in a few days, and their home will not be there.

cinderella castle disney world

Credit: Disney

Last week, after school was out for the summer, Brooklyn, Ohio, residents Michael and Shannon Gaughan took their three daughters, boarded a plane, and took off for a magical getaway at the Walt Disney World Resort. They were looking forward to the trip and were eager to get to Florida. But they could never have known what would happen back home shortly after they arrived in Orlando and headed to the Central Florida Disney Parks.

“It almost doesn’t feel real,” Shannon said. “I think we are still in shock. I have moments when I am devastated, and I have to pull together because I know the kids are watching us.”

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fireman on porch of burning house

Credit: Gaughan Family

In the early morning hours on Sunday, the Gaughan’s family home in Brooklyn, Ohio–a suburb of Cleveland–caught fire. A quick-thinking neighbor called 911 to report the fire, but since the family’s vehicles were still in the driveway, the neighbor thought the worst–that Shannon, Michael, and their daughters were trapped inside, unable to escape the flames.

“[Our neighbor] Carol and her family woke everyone up, and they came across the street screaming, crying, and hitting the windows and doors, thinking we were still inside, burning alive,” Gaughan’s husband Michael said.

The couple got the devastating news while they were at Disney World.

family stands together with mickey mouse shirts

Credit: Gaughan Family

“It’s just very difficult. You’re at the most magical place in the world . . . . but it’s almost like you’re walking through fog the entire time you’re here,” Michael explained.

Members of the local police department urged them to return home as soon as possible, but they decided to stay at the Disney Resort so they can enjoy their vacation with their children for a few more days.

“We wanted [the kids] to have a couple more days of ‘normal,’ of some happiness before we go home to whatever that may look like,” the mother of three explained.

RELATED: Fire Breaks Out During Guest-Favorite Show at Disney World

cinderella castle magic kingdom disney world resort

Credit: Becky Burkett

When the house became engulfed in flames, the family’s cat was inside, but thankfully, he escaped safely.

As of the time of this publication, Brooklyn Fire Chief Kevin Paul says the cause of the house fire remains under investigation.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!