YOU CAN HELP: Responders, friends and community members are rallying to assist a Garfield police officer whose home was destroyed by a raging fire that killed her two cats and displaced her family and five others.
No one was in the Van Winkle Avenue residence that had been home for more than 30 years to four-year Garfield Police Department veteran Rebecca Schmidt and her parents and brother when the blaze broke out around 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Brother Adam Schmidt rescued the family dog, but his sister’s two cats perished in the fire, which engulfed their home and another and severely damaged a third.
Fourteen mutual aid companies responded to assist, police Capt. Richard Uram said.
The Schmidts were taken in by relatives, as were four other families. The Red Cross helped relocate the sixth.
Rebecca Schmidt, 34, began serving her community riding with the Garfield Volunteer Ambulance Corps while in high school before becoming an EMT and paramedic.
Schmidt “lost absolutely every item she owned, including her service weapon and uniforms,” along with her car and beloved felines, said Detective Robert Meehan Jr., president of Garfield Police Benevolent Association Local #46.
The union has rushed to the Schmidt family’s aid with a Venmo campaign.
TO DONATE, GO TO: GarfieldPBA-FoundationINC
The community is also trying to help another family who lost their home in the devastating blaze. "God is giving me some chin shots," wrote Felix Colon. "My mother passed away 3 months ago...[and] my dog has to get put down. Then I get surgery."What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," he added. "[F]aith is stronger then ever. These are trials and tribulations. This too shall pass and I will be stronger on the other side with my family. God is good."TO DONATE, GO TO: Colon Family Fire Fund
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.