It’s not easy being a firefighter.
They risk their lives to save others and see some awful things. Still, they are happy to do it and are heroes in the eyes of most people. Firefighters never want to see a house burn down, and when they arrive on a call, most hope they don’t personally know the people involved. No firefighter ever expects to see their own house on fire.
Unfortunately, that’s what happened to a firefighter Jason Penwell.
He and some other firefighters took a call that came over their radios. He heard them say the street he lives on and then describe a house that he knew was his. By the time they said his house number, he was already worried sick about his family. He knew his kids were getting home from school about that time, and he rushed to the scene.
“As soon as he started describing it — it was like, OK, this is my house. Then, he gave the house number.”
Jason had helped put out many fires and rescue families, but now that his own family was the one in trouble, things were different. He had no clue what he would see when he arrived, and he was nervous at the thought.
The other firefighters tried to keep him calm and got there as fast as they could.
The house was up in flames, and it wasn’t clear how the fire started or how bad things were inside. Even from a distance, he could tell that the fire was pretty bad.
When he got there, he raced inside to check on his family. Luckily, they all got out in time and everyone was safe. He found his son Trevor and learned that Trevor had acted heroically that day, as well. He not only made sure his family was safe, he went back and rescued the family dogs, as well. Although their house was burning, everyone they loved was safe thanks to Trevor.
“When he told me what he did, I gave him a huge hug — so proud of him,” the firefighter said.
The two shared a hug on the front lawn. You can tell that Jason is thrilled and relieved that his family is safe, and although the damage to his home is horrible, it’s the furthest thing from his mind in this photo.
When the community found out that a person who had saved some many lives and homes was now dealing with the devastation of a fire, they were quick to act.
They started bringing the family money and supplies and have offered emotional support to the family, as well.
Friends have even started a GoFundMe account for the family to help them get back on their feet and hopefully rebuild their home. The family is grateful and overwhelmed by the amazing support of the community. They raised $23,000 for the family is just three days.
“The response from the community has just been overwhelming,” Jason said. “They’ve all pitched in to help a family that they’ve never met.”
Jason is used to being the hero and helping others, and it feels a little strange to him to need help.
He and his family are glad that the community is supporting them. They are also thankful that everyone made it out safely and the damage wasn’t any worse than what it was.
They have a long road ahead of them to rebuild and feel comfortable in their home again, but with help from each other and the community, they should do just fine.
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