PIQUA – It is a scenario that every family dreads … a fire destroys your home, your belongings, everything … just before Christmas.
That scenario is exactly what played out last Friday for the Dan Sullivan family.
Fire raged through their Lincoln Street home, destroying nearly everything that the family owned, furniture, clothing, Christmas gifts, memories.
Several individuals and groups stepped up to assist the seven family members, five of them children, ranging in age from 14 to less than a year.
The American Red Cross stepped up in the hours immediately following the fire, giving the family a place to stay temporarily.
On Thursday, members of the Piqua Firefighters Local 252 joined in to do what firefighters do best, help those in need.
Piqua firefighters, who along with their colleagues from Fletcher and Covington, worked in arctic-like conditions to extinguish the blaze just a week ago, donated funds to help get the family back on their feet, and to allow them to have some joy following their loss.
Firefighters enlisted the Piqua Salvation Army to put their experience to work in shopping for gifts that included not only toys, but also, diapers, clothing, and other necessities.
Firefighter Bob Bloom told the Sullivans that they wanted the family to have some memories of this Christmas that were not just of the fire and to make sure the kids had a Merry Christmas.
As family members waited under the portico of the Sidney Hampton Inn on Thursday evening, a Piqua Fire engine rolled up to the motel. Tears filled the eyes of family members as bags and boxes of gifts were carried into the lobby.
The younger Sullivan children were all smiles as they explored the boxes of toys. The older children sat quietly, with tear-filled eyes, the memories of their recent loss still fresh in their minds.
“It means everything,” said Dan Sullivan, to have firefighters help out when so much is needed.
“Firefighters are a community organization and we are there to serve the community,” said Piqua Firefighter Cleadous Hawk, “not only while we are at work but while we are off.”
“This is a way of giving back to the community we serve,” said Hawk.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the devastating fire, the cost the Sullivans nearly all of their possessions, but thanks to Piqua’s firefighters, and others who stepped up to assist, the Sullivan family can have some joyful memories this Christmas.