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Former volunteer firefighter loses home, dog in house fire

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ROLLA, MO (KTVI) – Two communities rally around a police officer and former firefighter whose home near Rolla was destroyed by fire.

Casey Chapman, his wife, and their two-year-old daughter escaped their burning house and were not injured.

“It is mind blowing the care and compassion people have in this community,” he said.

Chapman said his wife awoke and saw the smoke.

“It was terrifying; it was the worst experience I’ve had in my life,” he said.

Chapman is a former volunteer firefighter at the Rolla Rural Fire District. They have collected kids clothing and money for the Chapman family. A GoFundMe me account has been established.

The residents of Leasburg, Missouri—where Casey serves as a volunteer reserve police officer—are also offering to help.

“Casey is very popular because he is the type of guy that would take the shirt off his back to help somebody else,” said Leasburg Police Chief Vince Giacalone.

Unfortunately for Casey, his dog, Nitro, did not survive the fire. Dolittle firefighter Brandon Cole made an effort to save the dog’s life with chest compressions and even mouth-to-mouth.

“I was in tears…it warmed my heart they cared enough to do something to try to save my dog,” Chapman said.

Chapman said the fire will not stop his family from celebrating Christmas. There is plenty of sadness, but there is joy as friends and strangers surround the family with love and compassion.

“It’s overwhelming,” he said. “It warms my heart how grateful and giving people are in this community.”

Investigators determined the fire began in the attic and was electrical in nature.