FREEPORT (AP) – Engaged to be married, Scott Ryan and Rachel Crow suffered a pre-wedding disaster when a fire destroyed a cottage used by the wedding party. But there was a happy ending when they found their wedding rings in the debris.

Hours after the fire was extinguished, family and friends uncovered the wedding bands Tuesday while raking through debris.

“All of a sudden there was a long pause, and they all started cheering and applauding,” neighbor Nina Gosnell said.

Rachel Crow, her mother, her grandmother and two other members of the wedding party were staying at the cottage in advance of a weekend wedding when the fire broke out early Tuesday. She ran to her soon-to-be in-laws’ cottage, where a fire alarm is located.

The home was destroyed, but no one was hurt.

Freeport Fire Chief Darrell Fournier said the island’s volunteer fire brigade kept the fire from spreading before additional firefighters arrived from the mainland. The fire was doused using a pump that brought in sea water.

Hours later, Janet Crow asked permission to search the rubble near where the rings had been left. Someone raking through the charcoal spotted Scott’s ring. Then Rachel’s ring, still in its box, was located.

Scott Ryan had fallen asleep in the bedroom of a nearby cottage when the rings were found.

“Rachel came in and gently woke me and she slipped the ring on my finger,” he said.

AP-ES-07-25-07 0758EDT

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