COVINGTON - Emergency responders and county and city employees are banding together to come to the aid of one of their own.
Chloe Woods, who has worked as a dispatcher at Covington-Newton County 911 for three years, was the victim of a devastating house fire Wednesday night in Baldwin County.
According to Director Mike Smith, Woods shared the home with her boyfriend and they lost everything.
"This is somebody who serves the public relentlessly," Smith said. "It's difficult when it's anybody, but it's especially hard when it's one of your own folks."
Smith said it was his understanding that the fire is believed to have been sparked by a space heater that was on a deck keeping the couple's animals warm.
"There were dogs and a bird they weren't able to save. Even their cars were damaged. It was right before they went to bed and they were able to get out," he said, adding that all they had left were the clothes they were wearing.
The 911 center is coordinating efforts to help the couple.
"We've had a great response. Sunbelt Builders has let them borrow a truck. The Salvation Army here has told them to come get whatever they need. The Police Who Care Fund from the Covington Police Department has given them $1,000," Smith said.
Those would like to contribute should call Mike Watts at 678-342-8791 or 678-342-8790.
Smith suggested that small items like toiletries and everyday household items are needed and anyone who doesn't feel comfortable contributing cash could get a Wal-Mart gift card for them.
Clothing sizes are: (Chloe) pants, size 3; shirts, medium; and shoes, size 5. (Russ) pants, size 32/32; shirts, medium; and shoes size 10.
Barbara Knowles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org