Family Loses House in Christmas Day Fire, Thankful for Volunteer Firefighters

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While many families in the area were enjoying this winter's first snow from inside their warm homes, one Woodburn family was salvaging what's left of theirs today.
Win Simmons and his son walked through what remains of their home today, picking up what they can from the rubble of what the Christmas day fire destroyed.

"I was asleep in the recliner and my youngest son Brody woke me up, and said, the fireplace... the chimney's on fire! By the time we got to the neighbor's driveway, the flames were already shooting through the roof. Within 15 minutes, the whole upstairs was basically gone," said homeowner Win Simmons.

What was a home yesterday is now little more than a house frame.

"It's hard to look at the house and know you lost everything," said Simmons.

But they didn't lose each other, and out of the rubble they gained something else...a respect for those who came to their rescue.

"I looked around, and there were 25 guys I didn't even know fighting a fire in my house.... turned back around and there's 25 or 30 friends and coworkers," said Simmons.

Despite their loss, Simmons has so much to be thankful for this holiday. His family, and those strangers who worked tirelessly to save his home.

"These firefighters... they're putting their life on the line for me... and it's pretty emotional just to see that," said Simmons.

Even on Christmas, with no pay, they answered their call for help.

"To have someone like Mr. Simmons to be as grateful as he was and go out of his way to say thank you for the effort we put into it. That's pay to us. That's why we do it," said Woodburn Fire Dept Chief Bob Skipper.

Nearly 30 firefighters from four volunteer departments including Woodburn were on the scene.
The entire family, cats included, survived without a scratch. To Simmons the rest can be replaced.

Aside from the Christmas spirit of those firefighters and the community, Simmons says one material item that did manage to survive the fire was his young daughter's new boots, and he says it was the one thing she wanted for Christmas.

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