Community supporting firefighter impacted by house fire

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster Fire Department is asking for the public’s help to support one of its firefighters after the family escaped a weekend house fire “with only the clothes on their backs.”

The community has started a fundraiser on Gofundme.com for Alabaster firefighter Billy Gibbs, his wife Cindy and their three children after the family was struck by a house fire on the morning of Sunday, July 29, while staying at a family member’s lake house in unincorporated Shelby County.

The Gibbs had relocated to the lake house after a pipe burst in their Montevallo home about a month ago, requiring them to vacate the home while repairs are under way.

“Well this will go down as one of the best worst days of our lives. Today started out great,” Billy Gibbs wrote of the July 29 incident on his Facebook page. “We went out fishing at 5 this morning, caught a few, came back, made breakfast. We took showers and naps as we were planning on heading out again this evening.”

Shortly after napping, Cindy and Billy Gibbs were in the living room watching television when they noticed smoke inside the residence. Billy Gibbs then exited the house and saw flames emanating from the front of the home.

“I ran back in grabbed the kids and Cindy and we got out just as the smoke was banking down in the kitchen. Praise God everyone got out unharmed,” Billy Gibbs wrote. “While we just lost almost everything we have, I’m so grateful that this fire didn’t start while we were napping or in the middle of the night. My wife and children are still here and healthy. There are a million different ways this could have happened and by God’s grace everything happened in a way that allowed us all to get out.

“It’s also a wonderful day, cause after the smoke cleared I got to hug my boys and hold my bride,” Billy Gibbs wrote. “Take fire safety seriously. Teach your family what to do. Keep your smoke detectors in working order. Most of all leave it all and get out. This could have been a much different day.”

The blaze also destroyed the family’s truck, which was parked near the home during the blaze, leaving the Gibbs without a vehicle, clothes or shoes about a week before the start of the school year. The family has found a place to stay until the repairs are made to their Montevallo home, but is still in need of other necessary items.

As of the morning of July 31, the Gofundme.com page had raised about $2,800 of the $20,000 goal to help the family get back on its feet. Alabaster firefighters also raised about $3,000 to help the family, and presented the donation to them on July 31.

To donate to the fundraiser, visit Gofundme.com/billy-and-cindy-gibbs-house-fire.