Firefighters help captain after losing house to fire in Kennewick
BENTON COUNTY, Wash. — Firefighters are always there when you need them whether you’re having a medical issue or your house is on fire. But when the tables turn, who’s there for them?
Benton County Fire Capt. Aaron Fryer left for vacation with his wife and five children on Sunday. The next day, Kennewick firefighters were called to his home.
“Our captain’s house was on fire, and so I made a couple of phone calls and sure enough, unfortunately, our captain’s house was on fire Monday morning,” said Lt. Mike Pena, Benton County Fire District #1. “It was pretty much a total loss.”
Firefighters fought the blaze near Johnson Street and Metaline Place. Investigators tell KAPP-KVEW they believe it started in a closet furnace. It then spread to the floor and into a crawl space. It appears to be an accident, but investigators can’t determine how it started exactly because of the heavy damage to the furnace.
“Mostly it was smoke damage,” Pena said. “They did get a lot of their personal items like photos and stuff out of there.”
The house was not salvageable. Their furniture suffered heavy damage and the gifts under the Christmas tree were gone. When Pena heard about the loss, he got his co-workers together at the volunteer fire district.
“My heart dropped and I just got ahold of all my crew, and I said ‘hey, this is what’s going on. Let’s get prepared to help out,’ he explained. “Everybody jumped up.”
Fryer’s children are between 16 and 5-years-old. He has three boys and two girls. To help, Pena set up a GoFundMe. As of Wednesday evening, the community has raised more than $4,000.
“He’s [Fryer] very appreciative of everything everybody has done,” Pena said. “They’re feeling very loved right now.”
In addition to the fundraiser, he set up a meal calendar. Fryer and his family are currently staying at his in-law’s home.
“We have a calendar set up for food delivery services to them while they’re — at their time of need right now, and they’re trying to get their lives basically started back over,” Pena explained.
They’re also collecting gift cards and clothes for the children. They’ll open some of their station doors if anyone wants to stop by.
Pena said they’ll continue to help Fryer and his family until they get back on their feet.
“Keep your head up, we’ll take care of you,” he said. “We’ll do whatever we can to make sure your family is taken care of.”