Family Remembers Woman Who Died in Altoona Fire

By Ali Ingersoll

Published 06/07 2014 06:37PM

Updated 06/07 2014 10:25PM

Family members describe Sally Rhodes as a 'spitfire' who was always voicing her opinion. They say she was fighter and that's what they'll remember most.

"Heaven got another angel today," says Terrie Villani, Rhodes' daughter.

"She was a strong, strong lady," says Zachary Lauritsen, the victim's grandson.  "Most of us got that from her."

One of Rhodes' daughters and two of her grandchildren stopped by the house, which has been in their family fro over 25 years, to see if they could salvage anything.

"All the keepsakes that we had when they were little were all up in the attic and they're gone," says Villani. "All the baby pictures, everything, all gone."

Rhodes and her husband were married for 40 years.

"They honestly were the loves of each other's lives," says Villani.  "My dad would have moved Heaven and Earth for her."

A neighbor who lived behind the couple for years says she was stunned when she heard the news about Rhodes and seeing the couple together always made her happy.

"He would carry her out sometimes in the wheelchair and put her into the car" says Sandra Newberry, Rhodes' neighbor.  "They'd be laughing and giggling."

The family says they're trying to figure out where they can relocate Rhodes' husband to once he recovers.

"I feel really bad for him," says Lyndzi Lauritsen, Rhodes' granddaughter who was in house when the fire broke out.  "Yeah, I lost all my stuff but that was his home and his wife."

"When I bring him home, I don't want him coming home to that," says Villani.  "Honestly, he's going to look at that.  That's where his wife died. I don't want him to see that.  I just don't know what this is going to do to my dad."

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