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Firefighters Lend a Hand to Petaluma Family

Following a fire that destroyed an Eastside family's garage on Saturday, July 21, local firefighters rolled up their sleeves and helped the family cleanup the damage.

The family whose garage burned last Saturday night after a battery charger exploded, says they are astounded by the generosity of local firefighters who after putting out the flames returned three days in a row to help the victims.

“They were absolutely amazing,” said Jeri Cummings, who shares the home off East Washington and Ely Boulevard with her husband, daughter and two grandchildren and who had canceled their home insurance a month earlier in order to save money.

“The firefighters went far beyond their job description. They brought us a Dumpster and then helped us pick up debris and haul it away and they brought us large cartons of coffee,” Cummings said. “We have never had to deal with our local fire department before, but ‘Wow.’”

The incident occurred around 6:30pm last Saturday when a lithium battery charger for a remote control powered plane exploded in the family’s garage in the 200 block of Redwood Circle. The fire burned most of the garage beams and caused smoke damage to parts of the home, Petaluma Fire Marshall Cary Fergus said.

Neighbors helped extinguish the fire before crews arrived, but the real effort kicked in the following day when firefighters returned, rolled up their sleeves and went to work.

“The crew had already completed their 48 hour shift, but on Sunday they returned on their time off and helped the family with the clean up,” Fergus said. They were led by Battalion Chief Phil Sutsos and later joined by Captain Kevin Weaver.

Cummings said the family had only recently canceled their home insurance to cut down on expenses because of medical costs for her 79-year-old husband, Frank.

“We’ve lived in this home for 27 years and we never once had a claim, so we figured it would be no big deal,” she said.

Do you have an inspiring story you want to share with our readers? Send it to karina@patch.com

Frank Simpson July 29, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Huzzahs to the PFD! This is the kind of story that takes the sting our of all the bad news these days.
Darris July 30, 2012 at 06:56 AM
Generous souls . . . it would be great to know the names of the firefighters who helped in addition to Battalion Chief Phil Sutsos and Captain Kevin Weaver . . . you guys are AWESOME!

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