Howard County EMA volunteer loses house in fire, community rallies to support him

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KOKOMO, Ind. (Jan. 20, 2016)- Cody Grell volunteers to keep his community safe, but now the Howard County Emergency Management volunteer needs his community more than ever.

Grell is normally on the front lines of fighting fires, but Wednesday he was walking through his home in Kokomo that was badly damaged by fire.

"When I first came in I couldn't see anything but I could smell the fire," said Grell.

The fire broke out early Monday morning at the home located on the 800 block of east Superior street.

Although Grell couldn't see the fire, his instincts took over and he immediately called 911.  It appears the blaze started in the attic.

"Cody, with his experience as a volunteer in seeing these types of tragedies, made a very wise decision," said Marshall Talbert, a spokesperson for the Howard County EMA.

It was Grell's experience and training that likely saved his fiancée Vanessa and their two young children.

"The family is safe and that's all I care about," said Grell.

Grell's furnace recently blew out and space heaters weren't strong enough for the cold nights.  He decided to get his family out of the house and move them to a nearby hotel hours before the fire.

"If you have those types of issues, the  best decision sometimes can be to evacuate and relocated until you can get the problem examined by a professional," said Talbert.

Now, the first responder who would do anything for his community is in need of some backup from you.

"We are just trying to get him some aide and get him back on his feet," said Talbert.

The Howard County EMA volunteers are accepting donations for the Grell family.  They are accepting household items, bedding, dishes, appliances, children's toys and clothes.

Donation boxes have been set-up at the EMA station at 627 S. Berkley Road.  If you are interested in donating, you are asked to call (765) 456-2242 before dropping any materials off.

"We are family here and it means everything that the community is doing so much to help.  I would do the same thing for these guys if anything were ever to happen, "said Grell.

The Grell's are also accepting monetary donations through an online fund.