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'It's a brotherhood': Jerome Rural Fire Department helping one of its own

The Jerome Rural Fire District started a GoFundMe to help their assistant fire chief who lost his home and belongings in a fire last week.

JEROME COUNTY, Idaho — The Jerome Rural Fire Department is trying to raise money for their assistant fire chief who lost his home in a fire last week. 

"We get real close. We're all tight it's a brotherhood within a brotherhood," Charles Howell said. "Firefighters are brothers inside and out, but this volunteer group has been really tight.

Howell, a volunteer firefighter for more than 30 years, said the department got a call to respond to a structure fire in Jerome around 12:30 pm on May 12. Assistant Chief Larry Robbins also got the call, but at the time was not aware it was for his own home.

"He got up and heard some noise outside of his house. He started putting on his bunker gear, headed out the door and couldn't figure out what the noise was," Howell said. He added when Robbins opened his door he saw his camp trailer, his car and the roof on the fire. The noise was his neighbor banging on the front door trying to wake them up.

Fortunately, Robbins was able to get himself and his family out of the house safely. However, the house, a car and their camp trailer were completely destroyed. Howell said the cause of the fire was from the propane refrigerator in the camp trailer.

"'How can we help?' That's the first thing that comes to everybody's mind," Howell said. 

Howell said some of the volunteers were able to donate money, food and clothes to Robbins' family. He added they've also been able to help them find a place to love for the time being, but are searching to find something long-term support for their "brother."

"He gives back to the community as much as he can. He comes to 90% of the calls, and gives up his time in other areas," Howell said. He added Robbins has been part of the department for more than 30 years as well.

They've started a GoFundMe account where all of the proceeds will go to the Robbins family to help with any emotional and financial burdens. People looking to make a donation in person or have questions can contact Dennis Clark at (208) 358-3886. 

"As we say we're all brothers and in this and that's that's the biggest part," Howell said.

The Jerome Rural Fire Department is an 18-person volunteer fire crew. They serve about 20,000 homes in West Jerome County and respond to about 300 calls a year, less than 10 are structure fire calls.

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