APOPKA, Fla. – Tragedy struck an Apopka firefighter after the home he grew up in was destroyed when a fire ripped through it.
“It’s definitely hard to look at, you know because this is the house I grew up in,” Jeremias Williams said.
The home where Williams has some of his most cherished memories is now a pile of rubble and ashes.
“Initially it was kind of uh, put us at a standstill you know because as a firefighter I’m used to fighting the fire,” he said.
The 23-year-old Apopka native has been a firefighter with the Apopka fire department for more than four years. He said the night of March 31 when a fire ripped through his family’s home, he wasn’t working; it was one of his coworkers who called him.
“I just remember seeing the rubble a lot of the rubble. I remember the firefighters some of them I knew on the scene, fighting it,” he said.
At the time Jeremias didn’t know if his parents and three of his brothers were still inside.
“First 20 minutes on the scene was really really frustrating because we didn’t know if this would be a recovery or not,” he said.
The night of the fire the only person in the home was his father who got out uninjured.
Three weeks after the flames destroyed the home, Jeremias’ parents continue living with one of his sisters. Their hope is to one day live again in the same place where they raised their nine children.
“It was tight quarters, we didn’t have a lot of privacy but it was what we had and I just remember being around family and I remember the bickering, I remember the fun times and I remember you know wrestling on mattresses and just having fun,” he said.
Now the family looks forward to rising from the ashes.
“There is a GoFundMe page that some family friends started on behalf of myself and my family in efforts to raise money--to hopefully get you to know is the initial plan may be a manufactured home, a trailer or something like that to put on the property to get them started there.”
To help the family you can access the GoFundHe page at this link.