Community comes together for firefighter who lost home in fire - WNEM TV 5

Community comes together for firefighter who lost home in fire

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A Mid-Michigan firefighter is in need of some help after losing his own home in a recent blaze.

He's the guy you count on to battle the flames until they're out, but now a local firefighter is in need of someone to step up for him.

"Paul will actually be somewhat upset to know I started this for him," said Lt. Phillip Andrist, with the Beaverton Fire Department.

Andrist said Paul Dunn, a veteran volunteer with the Beaverton Fire Department, lost his entire home to a fire in April. What makes it even more emotional, Andrist was one of the firefighters who battled the flames knowing it was his friend's home. He reached out to TV5 to tell his emotional story.

"I would have to admit it was somewhat pulling on the heartstrings. You get kind of emotional knowing it was one of your brothers," Andrist said. "Trying to keep our composure, as best we could. We spent two or three hours just pouring water on the fire as best we could."

Fire officials said the home was a total loss, with only charred debris like a piece of aluminum siding remain.

Andrist said a GoFundMe account has been created to help Dunn pick up the pieces.

"Speaking with our assistant chief, I know that he's getting by as best as he can, waiting on insurance representatives to show up to see what they can pick up from what's left, and start moving forward," Andrist said.

Fortunately, nobody was home at the time of the fire, but officials still don't know what caused the blaze.

What they do know, however, is that one of their brothers needs the community to step up in his desperate hour, the way Dunn has always for them.

Dunn has been living out of a hotel for more than a month.

"It was Good Friday. I was at work. I got a phone call at about 9 p.m. that said my house was on fire. It was totally engulfed," Dunn said.

Only charred remains were left, but the community came together to raise thousands of dollars for him through an online fundraising site.

"Thanks to everybody who has helped. From deep down in my heart, thank you very much," Dunn said.

The old structure was taken out about two weeks ago and the next step is to bring in a temporary home so the family can return to their property.

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