- The Washington Times - Monday, July 8, 2002

The D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department is rallying around a firefighter whose father's 100-year-old house was destroyed by a fire Saturday.
"We are a family," said department spokesman Alan Etter. "When one hurts, we all hurt. We will try to help however we can."
An electrical wire Saturday evening fell from a utility pole and ignited the front porch of a house in the 5700 block of Blaine Street NE. The fire quickly spread to the interior of the wood-frame house, which was home to Donald Addison, father of D.C. firefighter Debra Addison.
No one was home at the time of the fire, and no one was injured. The house sustained $70,000 in damage.
The house was not insured, and firefighters are appealing for help on behalf of Mr. Addison, who is staying with one of his five daughters. The firefighters have also pledged to help out personally.
"It is terrible to lose a house where generations of your family have grown up," said Miss Addison, the firefighter. "We are all just devastated."
About 5 p.m. on Saturday, 9-year-old neighbor Chris Lewis smelled smoke and called 911 to report that the house was on fire.
Miss Addison was working at Engine Co. 29 near Macarthur Boulevard in Northwest. A colleague assigned to Northeast who is also a neighbor of her father called her to say the house was on fire. Wagon driver David Goodwin drove her to the scene.
"I fell apart," she said. "I didn't know if my father was there. All I knew was that there was heavy fire and smoke. Everything went downhill from there."
En route, she called one of her sisters, who said she had talked to their father and he wasn't at the house.
Ms. Addison let out a sigh of relief. At the scene, she saw her father and ran over to give him a big hug. Later, she borrowed a colleague's helmet and raced into the house, grabbing pictures of her great-grandmother, grandfather and great-uncle for safekeeping.
Yesterday, smoke still lingered throughout the house, which sustained extensive damage to the roof and front portion of the first and second floors.
The rear portion has less extensive smoke-and-water damage. "I was so shocked when I saw the house," Miss Addison said. "It was so emotional."
Mr. Addison, 67, who is retired from the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, works as a supervisor at a home for the handicapped. He is the father of the first pair of sisters to work simultaneously as D.C. firefighters.
Daughter Diane Irby retired from the fire department after 16 years.
The house originally belonged to Miss Addison's great-grandmother and has been in the family for more than a century.
"My father grew up in the house," she said. "I remember going there as a little girl, and my blind great-grandmother would give us cookies. That is family central, where we gather for our cookouts, holidays, the Fourth of July."


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