Thomasville firefighter’s home destroyed in fire

RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- A Thomasville firefighter, his wife and their 8-month-old daughter need to find a new place to live after a chimney fire severely damaged their home in Randolph County.

Someone passing by saw smoke coming out of the house on N.C. 49 South near the county line, according to the county fire marshal.

Four fire departments came out to fight the fire after 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Many of the family’s belongings will need to be thrown out due to smoke damage. The baby’s stuff is too toxic to keep.

“It's really difficult to remove those types of smells and chemicals from your home,” said Eddie Bowling, the acting battalion chief at the Thomasville Fire Department.

Thad Watkins has worked at the Thomasville Fire Department for 10 years. He says his house is a total loss.

“When you do hear that one of your own has had the damages, it hits closer to home because you know this person, you know their background, you know their family,” Bowling said.

Firefighters are reaching into their own pockets to help the family. The Watkins will also receive money from a state firemen’s relief fund.

Right now, they plan to stay with family and hope to later build another home.

“It's always difficult to have lost, but even more so during the holiday season,” Bowling said.

The family’s Christmas presents were not destroyed. The baby’s gifts were not inside the home and a present Thad purchased his wife was recovered.

Anyone who wants to help the family, can drop off money or gift cards at the Thomasville Fire Department.

You can donate to the family's YouCaring account here.