MERIDIAN - A family is now speaking out after tragedy ripped through a Meridian home last week.
"I had been in contact with both my grandmother and my aunt on Monday, I had already made plans to come out here," said Patrice McAlister.
Patrice's uncle, Scott McAlister, battled liver cancer and was given just two more weeks to live, so she was going to make the trip to say her final goodbyes.
What she didn't plan on was what she found out on Thursday in a phone call with her Aunt Lily, Scott's wife.
"She was like 'Grandma is gone, Uncle Scott is on life support in Utah right now, there was a house fire, there was a home invasion' and it hit me on a ton of bricks," said Patrice.
On Wednesday, September 27, tragedy struck.
"My aunt shared a little bit about the 911 call and that it was the hardest thing she's ever had to do," said Patrice. "They were barricaded in a bedroom."
There was an armed man pounding on their front door, eventually finding his way inside.
When deputies yelled at him to drop the gun he refused and that's when officials say there were multiple gunshots fired.
Minutes later, the home was engulfed in flames.
Officials broke windows trying to save everyone they could. The first person rescued was Lily.
"She's going 'There's two more people in that house, there's two more people. My husband is ill, my mother-in-law is elderly, we have to get them out,'" said Patrice.
Scott escaped the flames as well, but not without severe burns. He was flown to a Salt Lake City hospital where he died the next day.
Patrice says Scott's mother, Carmen Abbott, was also living in the house, but she did not make it out.
Now, all that is left of Scott and Lily's home is rubble.
"My aunt has nothing," Patrice said. "She lost her husband who she only had a couple weeks with left anyway. Those last few moments were just ripped away from her. There is nothing, nothing left of that house. It is a hole in the ground right now."
The family is struggling as they try to wrap their minds around what happened.
"This is something out of a crime show, you never think this is going to happen to your family," Patrice said. "It was gut-wrenching."
She says the family has a lot of questions that they'll never get answers to. Officials believe the suspect died in the fire as well.
"It's why this house? What was going through your head?" Patrice said. "It's going to be a long process to rebuild a life."
If you'd like to help the McAlister family, they have set up a GoFundMe to help with memorial costs and to help Lily get back on her feet.
Officials are still waiting for DNA results to officially confirm all of the identities of those who died in the fire.
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