Volunteer Burton firefighter's home destroyed in fire - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Volunteer Burton firefighter's home destroyed in fire

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(02/13/14) - Firefighters know their help is needed anytime they go on the job. Thursday, they also knew who was in need of that help.

"It's not that you don't normally work hard, but you work just a little bit harder," said Kirk Wilkinson, Fire Battalion Chief of Burton.

It was just before 6 a.m. when fire broke out at the home of a volunteer firefighter in Burton.

Russell Perry and his family were asleep inside. Perry's friend, also a Burton firefighter, happened to be driving by when he saw flames engulfing his friends truck parked near the home. Acting quickly, he pounded on the door, waking the family up, even before the smoke alarms kicked in.

The Perry family and their pets all escaped unharmed. In fact, Russell ran back in to save their pet bird.

The investigation isn't finished yet, but officials believe the fire began in the engine block heater of Perry's diesel truck and then spread to the home.

As of now, the family is working with the American Red Cross to find temporary housing. However, a long-term fix is still being sought.

Perry says he would like to stay in Burton, so he can continue to serve on the fire department.

Just like Perry has been so quick to answer to the call of others, the same response is now there for him.

"There is another fire department that has already contacted us to help out and get them back on their feet. Some of our internal associations here at the fire department will also step up," Wilkinson said. 

A donation account has been set up at Elga Credit Union. Those wishing to donate can do so there or by contacting the Red Cross.

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