Rachael Ray is opening up following an Aug. 9 fire that destroyed her home in Lake Luzerne, New York. Speaking with Entertainment Tonight just a month after she, her husband John Cusimano, and their dog Bella, safely made it out of the home, the celebrity chef described the devastating night and opened up about how she and her family are coping following the loss of their home.
Recalling that night, Ray admitted that initially, she was in "shock" as she and her husband left their home "with the clothes on our back." She explained that the fire at first had been reserved to the chimney, though "the fireplace burped, and when it burped onto the roof, the roof lit and just the way the day was and the weather, it just went up in kind of no time." Alerted by a neighbor to the burning structure, Ray recalled how she attempted to run upstairs to save personal items, including medicines and her mother's high school ring. She said that she could "hear the fire going through the wall. I could hear the electricity catching. I could hear it crackling. And I just thought, 'I have to go. I have to go.'"
"We had the same clothes for a couple of days and we literally stood across the street and watched the whole house burn," Ray said, adding that "it caught again the next day for a short time. And I was just happy that the wind didn't take it down the hill. My mom lives directly across the street in this little house."
Following the fire, Ray and her husband moved into a home just across the street, which gives them "a bird's eye view" of their house, which was only 15 years old. She said living in such close proximity "is good and bad," likening it to "a double-edged sword because we see all of it coming down, literally being bulldozed and excavated and removed." She said it is like watching them "knocking down my life," though she said, "it's stuff, you know? If you have your life, you can move forward and create new things and new visions."
According to Ray, the only part of the home to survive the fire was the garage and her husband's studio above the garage. On Monday, Ray took viewers of The Rachael Ray show to the home, an experience that she said "surreal."
Despite the hardship, Ray and her husband see a silver lining to the experience, as the experience, coupled with other things going on in the world at the moment, has made them "feel more respect, more empathy." She said that "this is making us our best selves in a weird way" and it "brings us closer to the people that share their time with us in their day and it certainly brings us closer to our humanity and our humility and taking enough time in each day to be truly grateful."