Houston & Peach

Widow says Perry firefighters not only put out a blaze, but saved Thanksgiving, too

'If it weren't for them, I don't know what I would have did.'

Betty Kendrick says Perry firefighters saved the day when a fire broke out while preparing a Thanksgiving meal for her family, including six hungry grandchildren. Firefighters shared their Thanksgiving feast with Kendrick and her family.
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Betty Kendrick says Perry firefighters saved the day when a fire broke out while preparing a Thanksgiving meal for her family, including six hungry grandchildren. Firefighters shared their Thanksgiving feast with Kendrick and her family.

Betty Kendrick said she didn’t know what she was going to do when a fire burned up Thanksgiving dinner and her newly rented stove, too.

Perry firefighters quickly put out the blaze. But then they did something else. They returned and donated a Thanksgiving feast to Kendrick and her family.

The city of Perry posted about the random act of kindness on its Facebook page.

At 2:39 p.m. a week ago Wednesday, Perry Fire and Emergency Services were dispatched to 400 Gordy St. to a kitchen fire, according to the Facebook post.

Arriving firefighters found light smoke billowing from the roof vents of the home and Kendrick and some of her family members gathered in the front yard.

The oven fire was quickly put out.

Kendrick said she was preparing Thanksgiving dinner for herself, her son and his girlfriend and six grandchildren when the fire broke out.

“(Kendrick) was distraught about not being able to provide a meal for her kids,” the Facebook post said.

Kendrick said she was already down about spending her first Thanksgiving apart from her husband, who died Aug. 15. The loss of the Thanksgiving meal just seemed too much to bear.

“I said, ‘Lord, I don’t have nothing to cook for my children,’ ” Kendrick said.

Ironically, the crew of 13 firefighters on duty were cooking their Thanksgiving meal at the fire station when the fire call went out.

“This weighed heavy on my mind and when I shared this with our crew, it was decided that we would take the food that we had prepared over to her so that she would be able to have a meal with her grandchildren,” Battalion Chief Kirk Crumpton said in the Facebook post.

The feast included fried turkey, dressing, a honey baked ham, green bean casserole, mac and cheese, a corn casserole, two or three different pies — “pretty much your standard Thanksgiving meal,” Crumption said.

“There was enough food that the 13 of us could have eaten three times,” Crumpton said.

Each firefighter first fixed a plate, and then they wrapped up all the rest to take to the Kendrick family.

Kendrick, who had not expected the firefighters’ return, started crying when she saw the trays of food, Crumpton said.

And Kendrick’s grandchildren were so excited that they wanted to eat the feast right then and there. But Kendrick said she had her family wait and served the meal on Thanksgiving Day.

“I thank them so much for being here for us,” Kendrick said. “I was already feeling down. If it weren’t for them, I don’t know what I would have did.”

Fire Chief Lee Parker said he wasn’t surprised by the firefighters actions.

“It really makes me proud that they would think so much of others to offer their own planned meal,” Parker said in the Facebook post. “It makes me extremely proud to be part of this organization.”

As for Crumpton, he’d wouldn’t have minded if no one had found out about what he and his firefighters did that day.

“It feels great, but I was hoping that this would slip under the cracks and nobody would have even found out about it,” Crumpton said. “That’s certainly not the reason we did it.

“It was just kinda instinctual like, ‘Hey, this is the right thing to do because this could be our family,’ ” he said. “It all just boils down to loving your job and taking care of those people that you’re paid to protect.”

Becky Purser: 478-256-9559, @BecPurser

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