Fire destroys paramedic James Campbell's family's home in Elbert County

Posted at 6:17 AM, Mar 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-23 15:26:23-04

ELBERT COUNTY, Colo. -- Volunteer firefighter and paramedic James Campbell was starting a 24-hour shift as a paramedic when he heard a call on his fire department pager.

"I seen it was my address and it was a structure fire," Campbell said. "At that point, the panic button kind of set in. I called my supervisor and said, 'I had to go, my house is on fire.'"

Campbell had to drive more than 30 miles from Aurora to his home in Elbert County.

"From about the back end of Aurora, I seen the smoke in the air," Campbell said. "I just tried to get here as quick as I could. I knew the guys at the fire department were doing everything they could. My biggest concern was just my family."

James' wife, Kimberlyn, was at their home with her grandparents when the fire started. Her grandfather was in the living room when he smelled smoke. He thought it was their pellet stove. Then he saw smoke on the back porch. Kimberlyn's grandparents started screaming for her to help.

"I had to go through the dining room and the kitchen in order to get to the back porch when I noticed there was fire on the back porch," Kimberlyn Cummings said. "My grandpa was trying to put it out with a fire extinguisher and my grandma was throwing flour and pitchers of water and whatever she could on it."

Cummings got her grandparents and the dogs out, but the home appears to be a total loss.

"I've gone to trainings and stuff with him at the fire department, I've seen it there, but nothing out of control like this. Nothing this fast. It happened so fast. It was unbelievable," Cummings, an EMT student, said.

"Everyone made it out," Campbell said. "All we can do it rebuild bigger, better, stronger."

Several of the famiy's dogs are being cared for at the Bear Creek Pet Resort. The pet day care is accepting donations of clothing and household items for the family.

Campbell's paramedic company, Falck Rocky Mountain, is matching donations to a PayPal account until Friday, March 24 at noon.