GREENDALE, Wis. — For the first time since a fire destroyed his home, a Greendale Fire Lieutenant talked about the ordeal with TMJ4 News.
The community he has served for more than 25 years is now stepping up to help him and his family get back on their feet.
“From the night of the fire and every day since, the support network has been incredible,” said Lt. Mike Schmitt. “My family is forever grateful. Thank you to everyone who has helped us.”
Fellow firefighters, friends and businesses helped organize a raffle and fundraiser Friday for Schmitt, his wife, and three children.
"It's impossible to count all the people he has helped over the years,” said Greendale Fire Chief Kenten Kais. “He’s one of our training officers. Now he needs all of our help.”
The Schmitt family lost everything when an electrical fire started in their garage and spread fast.
It happened on Valentine’s Day, while Lt. Schmitt was on duty at the Greendale Fire Department.
Lt. Schmitt and his crew put on their gear and rushed to the emergency house fire call.
It wasn’t until they were en-route that Lt. Schmitt realized he was responding to his own home, and that his family was there.
“As soon as we started to respond, I heard a friendly voice on the radio,” he said. “I knew who the incident commander was. I reached out to him over the radio, and I asked him to give me an update, and he let me know my family, everybody was already out of the house and safe. That was a huge weight off my shoulders.”
If you’d like to help, the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin Charitable Foundation also set up this fundraising page for the Schmitt family: https://pffwcf.networkforgood.com/projects/153610-the-schmitt-family