Chandler Firefighter Charities gives $1K to help family affected by fire

An early morning fire ripped through a Chandler apartment, leaving the family of three losing everything, including their two pet parrots.

Chandler Fire did more than put the flames out; they helped the victims get back on their feet.

"Right now we're going to give you $1,000, just going to get you back on your feet okay," said Captain Jeff West with Chandler Fire.

Capt. West knew the department's job wasn't done just because the flames were out. The early morning fire that crews responded to near Dobson and Warner gutted the home Pam Wesley, her husband, and adult grandson lived in.

"I didn't realize, I just went back a few minutes ago, I didn't realize that everything was destroyed, my birds got burned up, my parrots," said Pam Wesley.

"We have cash in our hand that we can give them where they can get clothes, an apartment, food, replace personal items," said West.

Capt. West said that Chandler Firefighters and city employees donate directly to the Chandler Fire - Fire Charities fund from their pay checks. Once on the scene, firefighters have the freedom to recognize need like they did here.

"From the moment we were dispatched, and the reports, we knew it was going to be a little more critical," he said.

The home is now a charred skeleton with everything inside gone. The family is grateful for the help, grateful they made it out alive.

"The flames started in the only place where we carry a fire extinguisher, which is in the laundry room," said Valentin Decastro.

Decastro says it was his grandmother who smelled the smoke and woke everyone else up saving their lives. Wesley is too shocked to acknowledge her own heroism.

"All my clothes, everything is gone, my birds," said Wesley.

It's the hugging and other support from Chandler fire that will help this family get through what happened.

Last year the charity donated $72,000 back to the community including CPR training, fire safety training, in addition to money for victims.