Couple who lost home are volunteer firefighters

Published 1:57 am Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gene and Simone Godwin are used to fighting fires and responding to emergencies for their neighbors.

On Sunday morning, the members of the Appleton Volunteer Fire Department returned to their Georgia Lane home only to find it nearly gutted by fire.

Brewton Fire Department Capt. Robert Crenshaw said a team of firefighters responded to the call received at 1:32 a.m. Sunday.

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“We arrived at 1:39 a.m. and stayed on the scene until about 7:30 a.m.. Sunday,” Crenshaw said. “The house was fully involved when we arrived. While working the fire, Appleton Volunteer Fire Department was called to assist.”

Mike Tyler, chief of the Appleton Volunteer Fire Department, said answering the call was difficult because the Godwins are olunteers.

“(Gene and Simone) are both members of our volunteer fire department,” Tyler said. “This was like a member of our family suffering this loss.”

Since the Godwin’s weren’t at home at the time of the blaze, no injuries were reported as a result of the fire.

“They weren’t at home when the fire was reported,” Tyler said. “But being a part of the department, they heard the page at the same time we did. The house was still burning pretty bad when they arrived home.”

Although the family has made temporary arrangements for a place to stay, they will have to begin the recovery process soon, Tyler said.

“For now, they are staying at the house of a friend,” Tyler said. “They are obviously taking this pretty hard. They are just now starting to realize their situation. Thankfully they have insurance that will help them and Red Cross has helped with some of their most urgent needs. No matter how many good friends and family you have, and no matter how good your insurance is there are some things that can just never be replaced. There will be a time to rebuild for them, but it’s a tough thing to face.”

Crenshaw said 12 Brewton firefighters worked the blaze to bring it under control and remained on the scene searching for hot spots throughout the morning. Tyler reported as many as eight members of the Appleton VFD were on the scene to assist.

No determine on the cause of the fire has been made, Crenshaw said. Alabama Fire Marshal and insurance officials will conduct a search to make a determination.