Colleagues rally behind firefighter-paramedic who lost everything in fire

Rio Vista firefighter Stephen Grisham created a GoFundMe for his colleague Kevin Brotzman, who lost his home and everything in it in a fire

By Jessica Pounds
Cleburne Times-Review

RIO VISTA, Texas — The community surrounding the Rio Vista Volunteer Fire Department has stepped up to support one of their own — a firefighter and his family who lost their home and everything they own in a Tuesday night fire.

Late that night, Kevin Brotzman woke up to find his home in Rio Vista full of smoke. He gathered his family, evacuated the home and waited for help to arrive.

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Rio Vista Fire Chief Gail Hutchinson said by the time the fire department got to the scene the home was fully involved.

“All we could do was defensive firefighting from the outside,” he said. “It was a total loss and he had a car sitting next to the house that caught on fire and burned, too.”

Hutchinson said six fire departments responded to the scene, as well as Emergency Support Services.

“There have been a lot of people who have called and asked about clothing sizes and all that,” he said. “The department donated some money to get him some clothes and food to start off with. The community is really pitching in.”

Rio Vista firefighter Rick Cumins said the family lost everything except what they wore to bed.

“[Kevin’s] phone, wallet and even his truck keys were in the house,” he said. “Right now, we have no way of contacting him, but I bet he will get his phone replaced sooner than later.”

Brotzman has been with the Rio Vista Volunteer Fire Department for five years. He is also a paramedic with CareFlite.

Stephen Grisham, another Rio Vista firefighter, created a GoFundMe campaign to help the family with immediate and future needs.

“Kevin has given so much time and effort to this community, and it is now our time to give to him during this tragedy,” he said. “Imagine not having the keys to your vehicle, phone or the basic necessity of clothing. This really is a tragedy that he lost everything. He’s basically having to start over, everything he has built up while living in the area.”

As of Thursday, almost $1,300 had been raised.

Grisham said no amount is too small to donate to reach the goal of $10,000.

“Even people who don’t have the money to help out are offering clothes, books, toys — whatever they can,” he said. “That really is uplifting.”

Copyright 2018 Cleburne Times-Review

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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