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MOCKSVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — On the day after Christmas, a Davie County firefighter responded when his father’s home caught fire.

“All firemen want not to have calls on Christmas, but we all sit in the back of our mind ‘when and where is it going to be?”‘ Jason Keaton said. 

FOX8 went to the home on Baity Road on Tuesday to see the damage. Investigators tell us a portable heater in the living room is the likely cause.

It’s a hazard they and other local fire departments get calls about this time of year.

“I was actually home yesterday, and my father came up, beat on the door and told me to call 911. His home was on fire,” Keaton said.

He is very familiar with these situations. As the chief of the William R. Davie Fire Department, he’s usually responding to fire calls and not reporting them.

“When I looked outside, I saw smoke was coming from both these front and back windows with some brown smoke. I knew we had a working fire at that time,” he said.

Things happened fast Monday around 11 p.m. Keaton’s dad didn’t have a chance to try and save his home.

“The hall was full of smoke. He said he tried to make his way out the hallway, but he couldn’t. He had to leave out the back door,” Keaton said.

After a 45-minute firefight, only a shell of his 40-year-old home remains. The most precious thing to Jason was unharmed: his dad.

“That’s what I thank the Lord for. Material things can be replaced…lives can’t,” Keaton said.

It’s a happy ending to a story made even sweeter by the kindness of the chief’s firefighter family.

“My fire department along with other fire departments have stepped up and helped my family out tremendously…for that, I’ll forever be indebted to them,” he said.

Keaton tells FOX8 his dad did not have insurance because he’s an old-school type of guy who lived there for 40 years.

They plan to demolish the home and start the rebuilding process soon.