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Husband and wife firefighters lose home to fire in Maryland

The couple awoke to the smell of smoke and flames in their living room.
A family of four who lost their home to a fire sits in a fire station
Posted at 9:44 AM, Jul 30, 2023

As volunteer firefighters, Matt and Amanda Runyon are used to waking up to news of a fire. But on Tuesday night, it wasn't a phone call that got the couple out of bed. It was the smell of smoke, and the sight of flames in their living room in Westminster.

Ring doorbell footage shows the couple's two kids running out of the home.

"We quickly just got the kids out, got the animals out, and just watched our lives fall apart," said Amanda Runyon.

"We're used to being there to help people on their worst day, and now we face that worst day too," Matt Runyon said.

Instinct took over. The couple and their two sons — also junior firefighters — tried dumping water on furniture. It would prove useless.

"It went from being able to see clearly, to you can't see your hand in front of your face," Amanda recalled.

Used to jumping into action right away, the couple remembers feeling helpless as they waited for emergency crews to arrive - their fellow volunteers.

Matt volunteers for the Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company. Amanda is a firefighter and paramedic at Reese & Community Volunteer Fire Company.

By the time the fire engines left the station, some of the crew realized — they were going to their fellow firefighter's home.

"And I said, I know that address," said Sam Mann, chaplain and public information officer for the Reese & Community Volunteer Fire Company.

"We're a family here. And it's tough, it's a tough situation. Even though I've been doing this 40 some years, when it's one of your own, it's a tough situation," said Kenneth Hyde, assistant chief and president of the Reese & Community Volunteer Fire Company.

The next morning, those same people sprang into action once again, setting up a GoFundMe, and collecting donations of clothing and food.

It didn't take long for the community to step up too.

"We had almost a whole engine bay full of clothing," said Linda Bowen, member of the Reese & Community Volunteer Fire Company.

So far - the GoFundMehas raised more than $20,000 as of Sunday morning for this family of four.

"We can't even express how appreciative we are," Matt said.

The cause of the fire is officially undetermined, but the family believes it was started by a candle.

You can donate to the GoFundMe here.

This story was originally published by Elizabeth Worthington at Scripps News Baltimore.