• Last modified 119 days ago (Jan. 24, 2024)


'Get out now!' 'If he had been even a minute or two later, we may not have those four young people with us today'

Staff writer

The first thing Devin August realized when he awoke on his 21st birthday was that his life and the lives of his loved ones and friends were in danger.

A fire was blazing in his Lincolnville home.

His parents, Dave and Michele August, still were sleeping along with younger brother, Keegan, and three friends still were sleeping.

In subzero temperatures, Devin broke out his upstairs bedroom window, crawled onto the roof, and walked barefoot to the window of a room where his brother and three friends slept.

When he reached Keegan’s room, Devin pounded on the window.

“He screamed, ‘There’s a fire! Get out now!” Dave said.

Keegan and his friends got out and jumped to the ground. A female guest in Keegan’s room sprained her ankle badly when she landed.

Devin used a ladder to climb down to check on his parents.

“We had already woken up and gotten out,” Dave said.

Dave and Michele were hurrying to get to the kids.

“That was my only thing, to get them out,” Dave said. “That’s why I ran around the house to go check on them.”

A firefighter neighbor took the family inside his house.

Keegan later was treated for smoke inhalation. Devin was treated for frostbite.

A fire marshal believes the cause of the fire was electrical, Dave said.

A native of Chicago, Dave is thankful the entire community, whether he knew them or not, came together to help the family.

“I feel like a big family,” he said. “This is nothing like when I grew up in Chicago. It warms our hearts to know that there is still good. We’re fighting the good fight, keeping the faith. I have hope in humanity from this thing.”

Three family pets, a dog and two cats, still are being sought.

“I’m thankful for everyone,” Dave said. “I’m thankful to be alive. I’m thankful to everyone around.”

Grandmother Connie McMahan said she couldn’t be prouder of Devin.

“If he had been even a minute or two later, we may not have those four young people with us today,” she said.

For now, the Augusts are staying with McMahan.

Dave is taking a leave of absence from his maintenance job at Wichita State University and Michele is working remotely from her own job there.

Dave’s sister, Cara Vainisi, has posted a fundraising page on the website Spotfund.

It can be found at

Last modified Jan. 24, 2024