It’s a love story that blossomed in the middle of a global pandemic and survived a fire and a historic North Texas winter storm.
The backdrop of Erin Rieger and Tyler Lopez’s engagement pictures is a burned apartment complex in Frisco.
“In front of the fire trucks, water still pouring out of the water main, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him,” Rieger said.
The pair fell in love during the pandemic, while working as orthopedic trauma nurses at Medical City Plano.
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The engagement came a day after a fire started around 1 a.m. at Cortland at Stonebriar, where they lived, she said.
“The hallway to go to my parking garage was filled with smoke. The walls were streaked in smoke tar, and it was pitch black because they cut the power off,” Rieger said.
Lopez was able to run back inside the burning building, and scoop up the couple’s kittens, Muffin and Noodles, who were hiding under the couch.
He stuffed them inside a pet carrier and managed to grab a bag of kitty litter before he raced out.
But there was no time to grab his grandmother’s ring.
So the next day, when firefighters allowed them back inside the complex for a few minutes, Tyler didn’t waste any time.
“I was hoping it would be a little more romantic, but I wanted her to be mine, so it worked out,” Lopez said.
“In a way, the story is just so romantic. I’m OK with it!” Rieger said.
There wasn’t much they could salvage inside. But everything that matters the most is right next to them.
“I’m like, 'We’ve already been through enough this week,' and I love this girl so much,” Lopez said.
The couple is now house-hunting and shooting for a wedding in the spring of next year.