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VANDERGRIFT (KDKA) — A Westmoreland County man’s been serving as a volunteer firefighter for more than 30 years, but now he’s dealing with his own huge loss.
Rick Hooks was spending a lot of money on attorneys so he could adopt his granddaughter, and because of that, he was forced to drop his insurance. Little did he know an electrical fire would soon damage his own home.
Everyone, including a cat and a dog, got out of the Vandergrift residence safely. But, for Hooks, who is a volunteer firefighter, his house is gone.
“In 37 years that I did this, I would have never believed that it would have happened to me, but it did,” said Hooks.
Hooks just ended a long, drawn-out effort to adopt his granddaughter. It cost him a lot, so much money that he couldn’t pay his house insurance. Now he’s trying to figure out what to do.
“Gonna restart somewhere, where yet, I don’t know,” he said.
The Red Cross is putting the Hooks family up at a motel in New Kensington. Hooks has been gathering donations of clothes, and others are planning to raise money for the family.
“I’ve got different programs I’m working with right now,” said Hooks. “I got a lot of support from my firefighters that I’ve been around for years.”
Hooks was at work when the fire broke out. He beat the fire trucks to his house. When they got there, they couldn’t stop him from helping to put out the flames.