VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia Beach Fire Department responded to a house fire Saturday night in the Bellamy Manor section of the city.
Little did they know; the home was owned by Virginia Beach Master Firefighter Aaron Hauert who has been with the department since 2004.
The fire was considered under control by firefighters in under an hour, and no one was injured, but the damage still rendered the house a total loss.
Aaron Hauert told 13News Now that he has responded to several fires in his 15 years with the department, but said he never expected the next fire would happen at his home.
"I got the call from my mom and she said the garage is on fire,” Hauert said.
As he got off the phone, he said his address came over the scanner and he knew he had to get home.
"I was gone. I drove home. It was kind of surreal," said Hauert. "I knew it was bad when the ladder was up, and it was spraying water."
His parents were able to save the pets and get out safely, but despite the best efforts of the responding fire crews, the fire had too much of a head start and spread too quickly.
Hauert's parents were okay, and his four kids, two boys and two girls, weren't home at the time of the fire.
The family has lost almost everything. They are looking for donations for books, clothes, toys, furniture, food and tools.
Friends of the family started a GoFundMe page that's already raised more than $20,000.
"I'm like what did I do to deserve all the love and support and generosity. It's so humbling," he explained.
Hauert said he's thankful for those standing by his side. He said his insurance adjuster will figure out next steps. No matter what happens, he plans to live in his old neighborhood
"The stuff that is irreplaceable, they are all safe: my parents, my kids, my wife, my dog. The rest is just stuff,” Hauert said.