Firefighter Family Recovering From Blaze

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FALLS TOWNSHIP -- A family that lost nearly everything to a fire Thursday in Wyoming County is getting all kinds of support.

Volunteer firefighters were called to the house of one of their own, now they are doing what they can to help their friend and his family bounce back.

On the day after the fire at the Williams' family home near Lake Winola, the extended family was there to show support and check out all the damage. There's a lot of it.

"When I first saw it, I thought, 'this is it' because there was so much smoke," said Carmel Williams. "(We are able to save) nothing, total loss.  The roof is in the basement."

Carmel Williams found her house on fire then had to call firefighters she knows well for help. Her son Dan lives there with mom and dad. He's an EMT with three of the volunteer fire companies called to the scene.

Her son-in-law was a firefighter there also and as soon as the flames were out, the firefighter family kicked into action, helping the Williams salvage what they could.

"They were all there and they all knew each other so it's tough when it is one of your own, said Lake Winola Fire Chief Marty Bonifanti.

The chief says it was tough getting called to a house they knew.

There's already a sign up in front of the fire company advertising a benefit dinner for Dan Williams and his family. Collections of donations are underway also.

"He's with three companies. They are a close knit family," Carmel added.

All around the house are photos and other items this family tried to save but even though they lost nearly everything in this fire, they know they have a lot of support and are trying to keep a positive attitude.

"Nobody was hurt, nobody including the firefighters.  We have insurance.  We have each other.  We're good," Carmel said. "You have to (have a good attitude.) You can't live your life crying and worrying about 'what's next, what's next, what are we going to do?'"

And as they cope will all this, the Williams will have their many relatives and firefighter family there to help.

"It is a brotherhood and sisterhood and all emergency workers pull together and they'll do fine," Chief Bonifanti said.

The state police fire marshal has ruled the fire accidental, but with all the damage, the actual cause is undetermined.