Firefighter battles blaze at own home

Medina community pulls together support

It is not often a firefighter has to save his own home, but it happened last Saturday in the town of Medina.

Volunteer firefighter Brad Zirkel was attending a community garage sale and food drive with his family. 

Other members of the volunteer fire department were also on hand, along with one of their fire trucks. 

A call for a fire came in just after 8 a.m.

Zirkel and his fellow volunteers jumped into action and headed to the fire.

“We pretty soon realized it was down here at of these houses and the closer we got, I realized it was my own house," said Zirkel. "I don’t know how to describe it."

When Zirkel got to his house, he went into “dad mode," he said.

He knew his family was safe, so he went searching for the family pets. He found one dog, but was unable to save another dog and a cat, losses he called "heart-breaking."

After trying to save his animals, Zirkel tried to save his house.

"Unfortunately, it all went up to the attic and (we) just couldn't keep up with it, " Zirkel said.

“(You have) a sinking feeling in your heart and then (you) see him fighting a fire in his own house," said Bandera County Fire Marshall John Stith.

What makes the pain even more intense, Zirkel said, was that he was just about to finish an addition to the home.

“That was going to be my oldest daughter's room -- a bathroom for the girls and her bedroom -- so she was all excited," Zirkel said.

While Zirkel's house is a total loss, the community has stepped up to help. A steady stream of friends and neighbors have stopped by with food and clothes and a hug.

“That's the benefits of living in a small community -- they just really rally together to help people out," Stith said.

Zirkel said he plans to rebuild on the same property.

In the meantime, he said he will have a place for his family to stay, thanks to a family member and a friend.

A benefit account for the Zirkels has been set up in their names at area Security State Bank and Trusts.

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