RALEIGH, N.C. — Firefighters were so moved by a North Carolina woman already struggling before losing everything, including her son’s ashes, in a house fire, that they helped raise money to help her recover.
Betty Campbell, 76, lost the last of what she had, including her son’s cremains, in the New Year’s Eve fire, WRAL reported.
Campbell lost her house about a month after her son, Eric Dunlap, died last year. Campbell, who works two jobs, moved into a shed in her sister’s backyard. Campbell was visiting with her sister when the fire started in the shed.
“I thank God because I could have been there asleep,” said Campbell. “(I lost) everything...all my clothes, everything.”
Raleigh firefighter Capt. Dena Ali returned to the station after putting out the fire, still thinking about Campbell’s circumstances. She went on social media to ask for help.
“I’m just trying to collect a little bit of money to give her a gift card and within minutes, my phone started dinging,” Ali said.
She raised about $4,000 for Campbell in about 24 hours. Another firefighter, Lt. Marcus Horne, was able to get a lift installed at Campbell’s sister’s house to help with mobility. A car dealer also made Campbell new car keys, which she had lost in the fire.
“This little situation showed me that we’re not as divided as we think,” Ali said. “I really think we truly share this common humanity that makes people want to look out for each other.”