Earlier this month, firefighter Jason Penwell was en route to a fire in a neighborhood that was oddly familiar; the neighborhood was his. Making the experience all the more tragic, it was his home in flames.
"I happened to be at the firehouse at the time [the call came in] and never thought it could be my house," he told the Courier-Post. "All I had time to do was pull up my suspenders, jump on the truck, and answer the call." The flames eventually destroyed the entire home. Penwell's wife and four kids were not injured in the fire, but one of the family's dogs was killed in the incident. Penwell's son was able to rescue five other dogs inside the home.
According to the news report, the home was in such bad shape that it had to be demolished the night of the fire. "Of course we are all upset," Penwell told the paper. "But today is day one of recovery, and I have to stay positive for my kids." A GoFundMe page has been established for the family.
However heartbreaking they are, stories involving home fires help humanize fire's effects to the public. Please familiarize yourself--and help share--the many stories NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative has documented over the years. They can be found on the site's new "Survivor Stories" page. There, you'll have the opportunity to share your own story involving a home fire. Please consider sending us few paragraphs about your experience, whether you're a firefighter who responded to a home fire that impacted you or if you experienced a fire at your own home. We'll be able to share it with our North American audience.