Dallas Fire Department Chaplain Willie Range consoled hundreds of people affected by structure fires in his 38-year career.
Today he learned first-hand what it feels like.
Range, who lives in Kings Highway, woke up early Tuesday morning to pick up toys for the DFD toy drive. He was in the kitchen when he heard a “pop.” A fast-moving electrical fire had started in his living room.
DFD responded around 6 a.m. The living room, roof and walls were damaged, but no one was injured — also in the house were Range’s parents, who are in their 80s, and his wife.
Range, who retires from DFD next Tuesday, says not only did the fire fighters respond right away, but his neighbors did as well. One neighbor on the way to work gave Range the keys to their house and said “make yourselves at home.”
“I’m proud of my community and the fire department,” Range says.
Another DFD veteran wrote him a check for $2,500. And a crowdfunding site neighbors set up already has raised more than $2,000.
The Ranges temporarily have lost their home of 21 years right before Christmas, but Willie Range wasn’t crying about it Tuesday. He was almost giddy, touched by the response.
“I feel like Jimmy Stewart,” Range says. “It’s a wonderful life.”