Ray Marten's wife had taken their two youngest boys to grandma's house to make sure they would stay safe during Superstorm Sandy.
He decided to stay behind and ride out the storm with his older kids in their home in Rockaway Beach, New York. They figured the worst that could happen was a little bit of basement flooding, and they thought they could help tame the damage.
What they never expected was that their house would catch on fire. So, in the middle of the storm, they found themselves having to brave the winds, the flames and the flooding to escape.
Marten's son says the water was about five feet high and freezing. The smell of gas and oil was strong in the air and the ashes and embers blowing in the storm's wind made it difficult for them to open their eyes. But they waded through it all and made it safely to an uncle's house.
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When the family went back to check out the damage, all they found were their front steps. The rest of their home had burned to the ground, as had many of the houses on their the block.
Marten tells us it was absolutely devastating to see the place where he grew up not exist anymore. It's the hardest thing he's been through in his life.
Read more: How to help after Superstorm Sandy
But the important thing was that everyone was safe; they were able to escape with the clothes on their backs, a laptop and a cellphone.
Now, the family has split up and is being sheltered by different family members and friends who are all trying to help the Martens get back on their feet.
Ray Marten spoke with HLN's Kyra Phillps about how he got his family out safely: