A Wilmington firefighter and his family were left homeless when a fire destroyed their home, but neighbors have embraced them with open arms. Gene Powell is a captain at the Pine Valley Fire Station. Thanks to his training, his family, and pets were able to get out safely when his home caught fire in the middle of the night. At about 1:00 a.m. Monday morning, Captain Powell woke up to the smell of fire and immediately got his family out of the house. “My husband of course is a Wilmington firefighter and he had his head on straight and he hollered at us to get out, grab the dogs and out we went,” said Tina Powell. The fire destroyed almost all of the family's belongings, but since, Tina Powell says they've been overwhelmed by those who have reached out to help in their time of need. “We have had people we've never seen before, they've dropped off checks, they've dropped off gift cards. And it's very humbling.” Neighbor Elwood Mills and his wife were among the first to extend a hand to the family. “Just told them we were there and gave them a big hug and you know offered them everything that we had.” The Powell's are staying with their neighbors until they move into a rental house. Neighbors aren't the only one's helping out. The Professional Fire Fighters Association has also reached out by collecting 500 dollars for a gift card and setting up a relief fund for the family. ”We're together for 24 hours and they become your brothers and sisters and I think maybe the most important thing is their family becomes part of your family,” said John Stephenson of the Professional Firefighter Association. Fire officials haven't identified the cause of the fire yet, but say it does not look suspicious. If you would like to help out the Powells, you can make a check out to Powell Family Relief Fund and send it to the Wilmington Professional Firefighters Association at PO Box 15185, Wilmington, 28408.
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