MERIDIAN -- It has been a little more than a week since tragedy struck a Meridian family. Three people were killed after a home invasion and house fire late last Wednesday, September 27.
We spoke with the family's pastor about the McAlisters and how their church community is stepping up to lend a helping hand. The family has attended Legacy Church in downtown Meridian for years.
Lead Pastor Ralph Lowe says their church family had been helping the McAlisters clean up and get ready to move, just days before this horrific situation unfolded. Now they're helping the lone survivor of the fire, Lily McAlister, with anything and everything she needs - including helping start the healing process.
"Everything is gone; no house, no car," Pastor Lowe said. "It's going to take a lot for them because she lost everything."
Her world went up in flames that fateful night. The most precious of all things lost: her husband's life.
Lowe says before this horrific incident, Scott McAlister had been ill for quite a while.
"Lily was going to end up moving at the end of October anyway based on everything that was going on with Scott not being able to take care of the farm. She couldn't take care of it either," Lowe added.
Family tells KTVB Scott was battling terminal liver cancer and had just weeks left to live, with Lily grasping on to her final days with her husband.
"Then this happened and all bets were off at that point. Unbelievable, just couldn't believe it. We were just jaw dropping at that point," Lowe said.
Officials have confirmed Scott's mother, Carmen Abbott, was killed in the fire, while Scott and Lily were rescued.
"When the fire started Lily had to open the window because smoke was coming into the bedroom and two police officers were right there. They said 'stick out your arms', she stuck out her arms, they grabbed her and got her out of there," Lowe said. "Somehow somebody got Scott out. We don't know how.
"I wished I knew all those guys, I could hug them. I have no idea what those men and women went through that night trying to figure out what to do to help this family."
Scott was taken by Life Flight to a burn center in Salt Lake City. But the next day, he passed.
"That was tough for Lily to have to say goodbye that way," Lowe added. "As far as the physical she seemed fine. And of course we're working through the rest of it now with her."
Pastor Lowe says she had no immediate family in the area, but their Legacy Church family stepped up and lent multiple helping hands.
"It's been amazing. They just love Scott and Lily so well. They're just responding out of their natural love. And first off, a family took her in right away," Lowe said.
As the Legacy community lifts Lily up, they continue to mourn one of their own alongside her, always remembering their friend Scott McAlister.
"He had a great smile and a great laugh. He loved animals. Very enthusiastic, a lot of energy," Pastor Lowe added. "Not big, but a Marine and he loved horses and the outdoors and getting wood for the fire. And we would talk all about the stuff."
Lowe wants to thank his members and the Treasure Valley as a whole for loving everyone grieving during this unimaginable time.
"We're just so touched by the community's support," he said. "Where the bad has come in, oh the good is outweighing it, it feels like from our perspective. I even think Lily would say that God through all this is just lovin' on her."
Loved ones say Lily is dealing with a huge financial burden. To help lighten that load, they set up a GoFundMe to help with her expenses.
Officials haven't yet identified the suspect in the home invasion that was the catalyst of this. But they don't believe he made it out of the fire, along with Scott's mother, Carmen Abbott, as previously mentioned.
Family and authorities have said they don't think there was any connection between the McAlisters and the suspect. Boise police are investigating the incident.