A month after her Lake Luzerne home burned down, Rachael Ray has shared more details about the day of the fire, how she and her husband got out, and what her family lost ahead of the Rachael Ray Show‘s season 15 premiere.
During her Monday appearance on Good Morning America, the TV host, celebrity cook and author confirmed that the house fire had started in her chimney and revealed that she and her husband, John Cusimano, made it out safely thanks to “the kindness of a stranger” who happened to be riding an ATV behind the couple’s house.
“My husband had gone out with friends — his first time he’d seen anyone in a long time. He went to play a round of golf, and he came home. He didn’t like his performance, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll make pasta, and I’ll light a fire and that’ll put him in a good mood,'” Ray recounted of the moments before she learned her chimney had caught fire. “A few minutes after we started the fire in the fireplace, the fellow came through the backyard screaming, ‘Your roof’s on fire!'”
That’s when Ray said she and Cusimano raced outside and soon saw her roof engulfed in flames. When she went back inside to grab what could be salvaged, Ray noted that she could hear the fire crackling in her home’s walls. Years of training with first responders helped her swiftly determine that she needed to get out, the food TV star said.
“My mom actually lives across the street, and we were just so thrilled the fire didn’t come down the hill and wipe out her home,” the author and chef said.
In addition to profusely thanking the community members and the team of first responders who showed up to put out the fire, Ray took a moment during her GMA interview to note the waves of loss that both she and her husband have felt since their house caught fire.
“First of all, I was shocked that living through it, it doesn’t hit you right away,” she said. “Like we were very practical. We literally watched our house burn, and we were just thinking like, ‘What do we do now? What do we do next?’ It hits you in waves, and my husband, I kind of take turns at this.”
Ray pointed to losing 40 years worth of notebooks featuring her “life’s work,” along with many handwritten notes and letters she had saved over the years from her mother, who the celebrity chef said has macular degeneration. In a clip from the Rachael Ray Show‘s Monday episode, the TV host recounts that she and her husband also attempted to get medicine, her mother’s high school ring and other personally significant items.
“Remediation teams are working tirelessly trying to save what they can,” Ray said during her GMA interview. “We don’t know. We may get back some things. But as you can see from just the picture of our home today there’s not a lot there.”
In addition to showing photos of her home’s current state on the morning show, over the weekend, Ray also posted photos and clips of her former home leading up to today’s season 15 premiere. In a preview of Monday’s episode posted to her show’s Instagram, Ray shared that her family watched her home burn in around an hour during an event that was “chilling from head to toe.”
During her GMA interview, Ray said that she and her husband and new dog are currently residing in the guest house they built across the street for her original home, where she is currently filming her show. “I watched the house go down. The bulldozers are here now and the excavation units, and it’s tough to literally watch it — we’re literally across the street — just all go away,” Ray said. “Fifteen years of our life, but we had so much to be grateful for.”