NEWPORT, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Newport couple that lost almost everything they own in a house fire found a surprise in the ashes.
Justin and Cynthia Wagner were just about to head to bed on Sunday night at their Trentham Road home when they smelled something burning coming from outside the house. Justin said he looked out his front porch and noticed the garage he converted into a makeshift apartment was engulfed in flames.
Wagner said he ran outside and tried to start the car that was between the garage and the house to move it out of the way, but realized the flames were already coming up underneath it.
"I told my wife, I said the car is gone just get out of here, don't worry about nothing else, just let the fire department take care of it," Wagner said.
The fire destroyed the Wagner's garage, left their Mazda unrecognizable, and did extensive damage to the majority of their two-story home.
"Pretty much everything that we own is gone," Wagner said.
But then a friend found an unexpected surprise while he was helping the couple clean up on Wednesday morning. In the middle of the ashes was a Bible, opened up to John 3:16. The verse reads, "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
Wagner took that as a clear sign.
"That tells you right there that God is still here with us, he's still here for us," he said.
The majority of the Bible was burned with the edges of the pages blackened and charred, but the words of the passage are nearly untouched and clearly visible. Wagner said he has no doubt in his mind that God saved he and his wife that night because there is still more work for them to do on this earth.
"Maybe God let this happen to us so we could get a new start in life," he said. "After I had seen the word of God and I seen it on that, I felt like God was reassuring me, I saved your life through all this. I brought you guys through this for a reason."
The Wagners have been staying in a hotel that a local church paid for, but are asking for any help that can be given to help get them back up on their feet. Friends and family say they are currently in the process of setting up a convenient way for people to make donations to the family. Stick with Local8now.com for an update on how you can help.