TABERNACLE, N.J. (WTXF) - A New Jersey firefighter says he answered an emergency dispatch only to find his own home going up in flames.
For Tabernacle volunteer firefighter Jason Pennwell and his family, it's been a week to remember. First, they lost the home where they lived in a fire, then an entire community stepped up to help them out.
"The response from the community has just been overwhelming," Pennwell told FOX 29. "They've all pitched in to help a family that they've never met."
Jason was at the firehouse this week when he heard a call come in about a fire on North Firelane road in Southampton, New Jersey, where he lives.
He and several firefighters headed over only to learn over the radio it was Jason's home on fire.
"As soon as he started describing it—it was like OK this is my house. Then, he gave the house number," Jason said.
Jason frantically searched for his children when he arrived at the fire scene. They were due home from school at the time of the blaze.
Than, he learned they were OK and his son Trevor had actually entered the burning home alone to rescue the family's four dogs.
"When he told me what he did, I gave him a huge hug—so proud of him," the father of four said.
Since the fire, people have been dropping by with donations at the firehouse where the family has stayed the last two nights. A GoFundMe page has generated over $19,000 in two days.
"I don't know these people and yet they're helping me," he said.
"We were in shock immediately. Is everyone ok?," Robert Long, who actually owns the home and was renting it to the Pennwell family, said.
Long told FOX 29 he was home on leave from his air force base in Germany when he learned about the fire. He and his wife are also devastated.
Long says his heart goes out to the Pennwell family.
"The Pennwell's lost everything. We lost boards and beams. They lost dreams inside of that house," Long added.
The Pennwell family have now been moved to a hotel on the air base at Lakehurst where he serves the Air Force as a firefighter. Volunteers have also set up a schedule to deliver food to the family.
If you would like to help the Penwell family, you can visit their GoFundMe page, HERE.