Animal lover rebuilds home, life after devastating fire - thanks to community

Supporters gather to help Maine woman make a full recovery.

LISBON FALLS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - A woman from Lisbon Falls is back in her home - eight months after a fire destroyed it.

Amanda Wrobel suffered severe burns and was in a coma after trying to save her dogs that were inside.

It was a controversial decision, but since that day, animal lovers have come to support her.

"I wanted to get the dogs out," said Wrobel. "So I wish I'd been able to get the dogs and cats out. The house is just a house."

Wrobel is lucky to be alive after a fire took her home, and pieces of her family - four dogs, four cats, a rabbit and three rats.

Amanda stayed inside her burning house trying to save her animals - an action that made her mother Donna "both proud and pissed. As a mom… She's more important to me than her dogs were. But it's the way we raised her."

Dogs aren't just pets for Amanda - they are her life.

She works at an animal hospital, trains show dogs, and rescues countless animals each year.

Her passion for pets inspired over 800 people to come together - calling themselves 'Amanda Strong.'

"She kind of embodies all the love for all their animals," said her mother, Donna. "And she doesn't have any kids so people know how much she loves animals."

The journey hasn't been easy.

As friends and strangers raised money and hoped for a full recovery - Amanda lay in a coma for five weeks.

Her mother says watching her realize she had lost her animals was one of the hardest things she's had to do. "She was having really bad nightmares when she was coming out [of her coma]. She was unconscious… So she was remembering [what happened],"

"It was awful," Amanda said. "It's still hard."

Amanda doesn't like to be the center of attention - but was able to completely rebuild her home thanks to the 'Amanda Strong' community. She was able to show the completed home to everyone who helped in an open house on Sunday.

"My work friends, my family, my dog friends and everybody was amazing," she said. "They all helped [rebuild my home]. There's no way I could've done this without them."

But family and friends say it's more than just a phrase - and that watching Amanda get back to her life proves that she truly is 'Amanda Strong.'

Wrobel's path to recovery is far from complete.

She has another surgery to deal with her scars this week, and more surgeries to face in the future.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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