Philadelphia firefighters trade hoses and axes for hammers and cement floats

The widow of a Philadelphia firefighter who was killed in an April warehouse fire in Kensington is getting some help from her extended firefighter family. 

Dianne Neary needed work done on her house. She reached out to hire some firefighters who knew her deceased husband Robert to do the work. Instead, they came together, donated their time, and even recruited others.

“They jackhammered, I saw they had tools I was absolutely astounded about how it made me feel. I just felt like I was embraced and held up by this whole fire department,” said Neary.

She wasn’t ready for the emotional impact of the generosity.

“Very, very overwhelming, I have a company that donated the cement, I have these men that are professional men who gave up their day not to work for their family, but to come and help me,” said Neary.  “I never realized when my husband was alive the camaraderie in the fire department.  I never never understood it.”

Retired fire battalion chief George DelRossi used to play basketball with Robert Neary. He’s helped pour a new driveway for the widow of his friend.

“The fraternalism in the fire department is still fantastic, the men are for each other and it makes me proud to be doing this and be a part of this,” said DelRossi.

The spouses of the firefighters also came together to provide food for the workers, who replaced Neary’s driveway and back fence.

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