A man who spends much of his life protecting and helping others found himself in need Wednesday.
Decatur, Bridgeport and Alvord fire departments battled for almost two hours on a cold, gray morning to extinguish a fire at Michael and Ashly DoByns’ home just west of Decatur. In the end, the brick home was a total loss – a tragic start to the New Year for the well-known Decatur family.
The house is located in the 500 block of County Road 1111, just south of Farm Road 1810.The fire was called in about 9 a.m. Decatur Fire Department apparatus arrived a few minutes later, but Chief Mike Richardson said the fire had already been burning for about half hour before they arrived. Much of the roof was already gone. “You could already see completely through the house by the time we arrived,” Richardson said.
The fire was first noticed by a neighbor who called 911.
“I went outside this morning to check on my dogs and saw the smoke so I ran over there,” said Chris Powell. “I tried to pull out all I could from the garage. We managed to save a lawnmower and a motorcycle. But I had to get out of there. It spread real quick. It’s bad, real bad.”
The DoByns’ have two young children, but no one was home when the fire occurred, and no people or pets were injured.
DoByns, a former Decatur Police Department detective, currently works for the Grapevine Fire Department while remaining a reserve officer for Decatur Police. The couple also owns Decatur Service Station after buying Hudson Fina from Dennis Hudson last fall.
Mrs. DoByns, who works for the Decatur Police Department, was at the office when the call came into dispatch.
“I was there when the call came in from 546 County Road 1111,” she said. “I said, ‘That’s my neighbor’s house.’ The (dispatcher) said that’s the address of the neighbor that called it in.”
She rushed home to find her house fully engulfed. Her husband was trying to help any way he could, but little could be done. Their belongings turned to ash and smoke as firefighters doused the burning home with foam and water.
“I’m in shock right now,” she said at the scene.
DoByns had worked the night before at the Grapevine Fire Department, and had just gotten back into town when he heard about the fire at home.
“It happens to firefighters’ houses just like it happens to anyone else,” Richardson said.
Richardson said they will investigate to try and determine the cause of the fire.
The Dobyns’ had lived at the home for six years.HOW TO HELP:
A benefit account has been established in the name of Michael and Ashly Dobyns at First Financial Bank in Decatur.
People wanting to donate clothes or other items can call the Decatur Police Department at (940) 393-0300.