Crews respond to house fire of veteran firefighter in Charles City

Brett Bachtle
Created: April 06, 2021 06:17 PM

(ABC 6 News) - It’s a call no department ever wants to respond to, but early Tuesday morning, the Charles City Fire Department received a request for service from one of their own.

It came from veteran firefighter Russ Bornstein. He was startled awake when a bolt of lightning struck his home and started a fire in the attic.

“Approximately 3:30 in the morning, there was a loud crack. I decided I better go outside and look and see what’s going on. As soon as I stepped out the door, I smelt smoke and saw fire,” said Bornstein.

“By the time we arrived on scene, we did have fire showing from the attic space in his home. Luckily, we were able to contain the fire to that attic space,” said Charles City Fire Department Chief Eric Whipple.

Bornstein has severed 21 years on the volunteer fire department. After over two decades, he says he never thought he’d find himself on the other side of the call.

“Being a victim, it’s different,” Bornstein said. “Our job as firefighters or anybody in the public safety field is to go out and help protect people, save property. You never think of it being your own, but all of a sudden when the tables turn it really hits home hard because they’re saving my stuff now.”

“He’s definitely seen a lot, he’s helped a lot of people. Fortunately, we were able to help him this morning,” said Whipple. “This evening, we’re going to go out and help him board up some of the open spaces on the roof.”


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