Florida Firefighters Help Rebuild Burned Home

Dec. 17, 2008
Jacksonville firefighters returned to the home of a comrade's mother on Tuesday to rebuild it.


A Jacksonville firefighter who in August responded to a burning home with a familiar address -- his mother's -- returned to the home with his comrades on Tuesday to rebuild the Northside house.

Kevin Blue said he has seen plenty of homes ravaged by fire, but he never thought he would see his own childhood home burn to the ground.

About four months ago, Blue received the devastating call that his mother's home was on fire.

"I got a call on my cell phone and I could here my sister saying, 'Kevin, Kevin, the house is on fire," Blue said.

Blue was on duty at the time and raced over to help his mom; however, by the time he arrived, the house was gone.

The blaze was the result of a faulty air conditioning unit. It left the firefighter's 70-year-old mother, Sara, homeless.

"My mom was a little shaken being as how this was the house that she grew up in. That's why it's sentimental to her," Blue explained.

It didn't take long for Blue's co-workers to rally around him and his family. On Tuesday morning, more than 20 firefighters began rebuilding 1460 East 25th Street. Some of the same men who were at the home to put out the blaze returned to the house to fix the damage in time for Christmas.

"It just falls back to what they do on an everyday basis. There's a problem in front of them and they take care of it. They do it day in and day out in the fire station, it's no different from here," said Randy Wyse, of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters.

The fire department received some help for the work from a nonprofit organization called Builder's Care. The group donated supplies and tools for the reconstruction.

Builders Care said the volunteers from the fire department freed up about $10,000 from the budget, and that more money could be spent on supplies.

"It's such a huge blessing, and they do know what they are doing. They're getting stuff accomplished that I wouldn't imagine could get accomplished in a weeks worth of time in just one day," said Julie Castine, of Builder's Care.

Blue's mother will not to see her new home until it's completed.

"First thing I told the assistant chief, 'I feel like I'm indebted to you guys until the day I die because my mom really does appreciate to the bottom of her heart,'" Blue said.

Workers said the repairs on the home would be completed in just a couple of days.

Copyright 2008 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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