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Family Loses Home to Fire, Community Steps Up to Help

A local community is coming together to help one of their own.
PORT MATILDA, CENTRE COUNTY - A local community is coming together to help one of their own.

Dave and Megan Greenwald and their 1 year-old daughter, Kaitlynn, lost their home along Port Matilda Highway in Centre County to a fire last Tuesday.

They say since then, the outpouring of community support has been overwhelming.

It's every firefighter's mission to save lives, but last Tuesday, Dave found himself on the other end of the hose.

"It's totally different. Firefighters houses aren't supposed to burn down," he said. "You're supposed to be an example. I was a little embarrassed."

It was last Tuesday his home burned down.

"I went down to the store to get some milk, came home and saw smoke coming from my house. Thought it was my furnace backfiring," Dave said. "Went up to open up the door, some black smoke, thick black smoke came out. I was like, that isn't backfire."

Dave, Megan and Kaitlynn's home is a total loss. Fire marshal's haven't officially ruled a cause yet, but Dave thinks it started from a space heater.

"He leaves all the time to go to fires here and there and you just never imagine it happening to yourself," Megan said. "I could not believe it, it felt like a dream. It felt like a nightmare going through that."

Since last Tuesday, Megan says the nightmare has turned around.

"Thanks to our neighbors, we have a roof over our heads," she said. "It's not just them. It's the support from everybody. The overwhelming support of this community so far has been, there's no words to describe the graciousness."

From tragedy, comes compassion and a sense of brotherhood Port Matilda Fire Company Chief Steve Kibe calls unbreakable.

"You're relying on them to do things and to save your life and protect you, so you want to certainly help out," Kibe said.

"It kind of reconfirms your belief in the humanity of people," Megan said. "To see how helpful people can be, just blows you away."

The Port Matilda Fire Company has set up a trust account at First National Bank in State College to help the Greenwald family. You can drop a donation off in Dave and Megan Greenwald's name at any Branch Office in State College or you can also mail donations to:

First National Bank
1667 North Atherton Street
State College, PA 16803
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