Firefighter JJ Lyons and his family lost their home and everything in it, including two beloved family pets, right before Christmas. (Photo: Jessica Lyons/Facebook)
Firefighter John "JJ" Lyons has been on scene at a number of house fires over his 10 years in service. But a few weeks ago, Lyons found himself in a different position — it was his home that was engulfed in flames. The Williamsport, Pennsylvania, firefighter was out of town on a hunting trip and thankfully, his wife and daughter were not home, but the Lyons' house and everything in it were lost.
"It's a lot different with the shoe being on the other foot," Lyons told his local news affiliate WNEP-16. He and his wife, Jessica and 6-year-old daughter Jilline moved in with family nearby, but it was unclear what they would do or how long it would take them to get back on their feet. That's when a stranger stepped in and offered them a place to live while they literally sift through the ash of their former lives.
Joe Miller was having dinner with friends when he heard the news about a local firefighter who lost his home in a house fire. Miller immediately thought about the home of his mother who had passed away over the summer. After conferring with his two sisters decided that he would donate the home to the Lyons family until they were able to repair or rebuild their old home.
Jessica Lyons needed a home. Angel the cat needed a family. Now they have each other. (Photo courtesy of Chris Brady/Standard-Journal)
"All three of us right away were in universal agreement that this was something we needed to do," Miller told WNEP.
Just hours after the Lyons lost their home to a fire, Miller called to let them know that they could use his mother's old home, rent-free, for as long as they needed it. The two-story farmhouse is a perfect fit for the Lyons family with three bedrooms and a location that means Jilline, who just started kindergarten, will remain in the same school district.
Another perk? The Lyons new temporary lodging comes with a lovable house cat named Angel. Angel was Miller's mother's cat and he has remained on the premises since her passing. Miller has been stopping by the house twice a day to make sure Angel has fresh food and water. But now the Lyons will take over his care. The Lyons lost their dog and cat in the fire. Their other cat, Milo, survived and has joined Angel on his patrols of the new home.
The Lyons family has a long road ahead of them as they deal with the loss of their home and belongings. But thanks to the kindness of a stranger, they won't be homeless while they rebuild their lives.