DEER PARK, Texas - A special education para-professional who spent her career dedicated to adults and children who need extra care and attention now needs help herself.
Debbie Mahaffey was alone in her Deer Park home Wednesday afternoon when a fire broke out.
Deer Park firefighters were called to the home on Rutgers St. near Luella around 3:15 p.m.
The home was destroyed and two dogs were lost.
"It's a feeling of nothingness that I've never experienced before except when I was born," said Debbie's husband Kevin Mahaffey.
He told Eyewitness News he's numb after losing everything his family owns.
"Everything's running through your brain, everything like oh wow I don't have a toothbrush, oh wow I don't have a bedroom anymore, oh my mom, my mom's still in the hospital, my brain has not stopped," said daughter Kara.
Debbie was taken by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann Hospital for damage to her lungs.
While she originally made it out of the house, her family says she kept going back in to rescue their pets.
"She went to rescue our four dogs, only two of them made it out," said Kevin.
Their beloved dogs, Gizmo and Ginger, died.
"It's been really hard, they're like your babies," said Kara.
On top of that loss, they are now praying for their wife and mom to pull through.
Debbie is a para-professional at La Porte High School in the special education program.
"She is recognized as one of the best at working with special needs kids," said Kevin.
She's now intubated and under heavy sedation.
The family says she's expected to stay in the hospital for several weeks.
"She's always just giving to everybody else and taking care of everybody else. So we're just trying to take care of her right now," said Kara.
The family was renting the home, and fortunately they do have renter's insurance, but they still need immediate help getting back on their feet.
You can help by donating to the family's GoFundMe account.