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Covington firefighters replace bicycles after Thursday house fire
Members of the Covington Fire Department worked together to not only put out the morning house fire but also replace some of the valuables that were damaged in the incident. - photo by Jackie Gutknecht

COVINGTON, Ga. – When investigators with the Covington Fire Department went back to the scene of a house fire Thursday morning, they were met with a grandmother devastated not only by the damage to her home, but by the damage to the two new bicycles she had purchased for he 3-year-old twin grandsons. 

CFD Chief Jeremy Holmes said the fire occurred around 2 a.m. Thursday morning and was almost a total loss. The homeowner, who did not want to be publicized, was awoken by a neighbor as her smoke alarm was going off. 

Jonathan Fuqua, of the CFD Fire Marshal’s Office, said he was pretty sure the fire started at the deep freezer located on the back porch.  

“I get there (Thursday) morning just to walk around as they’re doing their investigation and of course the firemen are out there cleaning up and doing different things like that,” Holmes said. “So, she (the homeowner) came around the house and she’s distraught obviously, but she was ok. Then she saw the bicycles back there and they were burnt up and that’s when she started crying. 

“She said they hadn’t even got to ride the bicycles yet.”

Holmes said without a second thought, members of the department sprung into action to replace the bicycles.  

Fuqua said the new bicycles were donated by the Goody Barn Warehouse.

“We have a lot of great partnerships, like the Goody Barn and Walmart,” Fuqua said. “Any time we are kind of in need and they know what it’s about they open their arms up and they help us out a lot.”

Holmes shared the story on his personal social media account and has since been overwhelmed with the response of other community members wanting to give back. He said the homeowner is working with her insurance company and the American Red Cross. 

“From that point, I don’t know what she is going to need,” he said. “I don’t know what coverage she has or anything like that. I just knew the bicycle made her distraught and when we took it over there she just started crying.

“She was very, very thankful and her family was very thankful. It was just being able to see that smile on her face was something very small that doesn’t replace all of the other things in her home.”