As my niece and two of her five roommates were inside the three-story pole house – she was in her pajamas, concentrating on her homework in her room on the third floor – the house caught on fire from the ground floor. The flames reached the second floor before the roommates noticed their house was burning and one went to the stairs and called for my niece to come “now.” She did as she was told and the two young athletes had to actually jump through the fire while coming down a flight of stairs. All three got out of the burning home safely. My niece lost everything except what she was wearing, even her car parked under the house.
Volunteer firefighters were the first responders and, although they couldn't save the house, they kept the fire from spreading and made sure no one was inside or injured. I realize the travesty of losing everything, but am so grateful for the chain of events that allowed my niece to get out of that house two years ago. Beginning with the firefighters, followed by the Red Cross and other service organizations, volunteers all helped begin to put the pieces back together.
I want to thank the MWVFD for the opportunity to go inside a burning building and, more importantly, for making sure I got out. Among those I haven't mentioned who were there, according to VanNatta, were Fire Chief Joel Thompson, Asst. Chief Robert Coker, Capt. Monte Parker Sr. and Carey McAliley. Others involved were Kim-John VanNatta, Jamie Harrison, Tracy Brockway, Chance Reasoner, Connie Parker – who oversaw lunch and Gatorade – Danny Earl, James Israel and Carla Hay Perdue. There were more, but the point is it takes a number of people in a volunteer fire department to ensure a community's safety.