It was two weeks ago, on Wednesday, March 20, Johnston Fire Department Rescue Lt. Adam Barros was on duty.
His life changed forever around 9 p.m. that night, when he received a text message from his neighbor that read, in part: “I don’t know how to say this, but your house is on fire!”
Barros was stunned, and immediately told his shift commander he had to leave for an emergency. He quickly jumped into his truck and headed home to Glocester, where he saw his house ablaze.
Almost at the same time, Barros’ wife, Lynette, and two children – son Matthias, 15, and daughter Indira, 12 – returned home. They could only watch as fire consumed their house.
Soon thereafter, four of Barros’ Johnston Fire Department brothers arrived on the scene and watched 50 firefighters from neighboring towns battle the blaze, which destroyed the home and also took the life of the family dog.
“We were devastated,” one member of Johnston Firefighters Local 1950 told the Sun Rise. “We immediately called the Red Cross, which helps find temporary housing for families in such tragedies.”
Since that nightmare on March 20, there has been an outpouring of help for Barros and his family from the community. Through it all, Barros has told many of his Local 1950 brothers he wants to rebuild his home.
“Our original concern was to help Adam and his family with their immediate needs,” one Local 1950 brother said. “They lost everything; thankfully, their needs of shelter, clothes, food and amenities have been met through the outpouring of generosity and support from friends, family, the community, their brothers and sisters as the Johnston Fire Department and from countless firefighters across the state.”
Johnston Fire personnel are now asking that anyone who wishes to help do so in form of gift cards to stores such as Target, Walgreens and Stop & Shop.
Likewise, Local 1950 is accepting any and all cash or checks that a spokesperson said should be made payable to the Johnston Firefighters Charitable Fund in Barros’ name. The funds collected will go directly to helping his family rebuild their lives.
Donations can be dropped off or mailed to Johnston Firefighters Local 1950, Johnston Fire Department, 1520 Atwood Ave., Johnston, RI 02919.
Likewise, Joanne Fontaine – who owns and operates High Steppin’ Dance Academy in Johnston – has started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for the Barros family, whose children have been involved in dance at the academy for many years.
Local 1950 will be hosting what an official called “several large fundraising events” for the Barros family, with the first being a Dinner/Comedy Night on April 25 at Spirito’s Restaurant located at the Kelley-Gazzerro VFW Post 2812 on Plainfield Pike. One official said there will be more information on the Local 1950 Facebook page and at local1950.com.
“The Johnston Firefighters Local 1950 is extremely grateful for the tremendous support for our brother and his family,” the official said. “It’s heartwarming to see the community come together to help a family after such a tragic loss. Adam has expressed his sincere thanks to everyone who has helped so far and will be issuing a statement in the very near future.”