Community raises money for Jacksonville firefighter who lost home in fire

He's a Jacksonville firefighter who spent countless hours helping victims of Irma, but now he's turning to the community for help after a fire destroyed his home.

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Jacksonville firefighter Jacob Tomlinson spent countless hours helping victims of Irma, but now the community is helping him in his time of need.

Tomlinson was at work Tuesday helping Irma victims when a fire broke out at his Mandarin home.

"I was working five days straight and then getting the phone call that was house was on fire, I couldn't have ever imaged it. Being a firefighter, you never imagine your house being on fire. It's what you do,” Jacob Tomlinson said.

His wife and twin 15-month old daughters had stepped out of the home at the time.

"I went to go the front door as I was calling 9-1-1 this thick black smoke was pouring out and pouring out," said his wife, Ilyssa Tomlinson.

The couple believes the fire started in the kitchen and spread to the entire house. It destroyed their belongings and killed their two dogs.

“From what I’ve seen, everything inside needs to be gutted out,” Jacob Tomlinson said. “Quite honestly, I don’t know what’s left to be salvaged.”

When word quickly spread through the community, it caught the attention of a group called 1-800-BOARDUP. The group is based out of Jacksonville and works with fire victims.

"The Tomlinson family is definitely someone that we can relate to. He's a young man that's really been devoting his life to helping others and we like to consider ourselves doing the same," said the president of 1-800-BOARD UP, Beth Toenies.

It teamed up with 3phase Business Advisors and the Atlantic Beach Brewing Company Saturday to host a silent auction.

“We have over $5,000 worth of items from local businesses, everything from massages, to fitness workouts, to actual items. So we’re so grateful for our community for coming together,” Toenies said.

Together they raised thousands of dollars to help the Tomlinsons on their long road ahead. The couple says they can’t thank the community enough for the support.

"it's how we've been surviving, by peoples’ gracious donations to us. Otherwise quite honestly I don't know what we would've done without everybody else being involved,” Jacob Tomlinson said.

If you’d like to donate to the family, click here for their GoFundMe page.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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