OSAGE COUNTY, Mo. -

An Osage County family of six is starting over this New Years Day after a fire took its home and loved pets.

Family members say they will always be grateful to their neighbor who not only opened their home to them, but also risked his life to save two of the family dogs.

The Evans family was not home Sunday afternoon at the time of the fire, but their three dogs and bunny were.

A commotion Sunday afternoon alerted Loose Creek resident Chris to a large fire next door. His neighbor's home was engulfed in flames within minutes.

"He ran in and opened the door because the volunteer firefighters got here first and they didn't know if they could open the door or not. They didn't know we had pets or anything like that," said fire victim Kimberly Evans.

Chris declined to go on camera Wednesday, saying he did what he would want someone to do for him.

After all, he had been watching the dogs all day for the Evanses.

Once he was inside the burning home, he led two of the dogs out of the home. The firefighters then prevented him from going back inside the home, saying that it was too dangerous.

"They literally held him back and wouldn't let him go back in," said Evans.

The family is now staying with Chris.

Both dogs that survived have burns and are under the care of a veterinarian.

Fire officials believe the fire was started by an outlet shortage.

If you would like to help the Evans family, you can call (618) 875-2855 ext. 96646 and ask for Ernie.

You can also call Kimberly Evans at (314) 625-8261.