Firefighters Save Christmas for Family After Fire in Southeast DC

Toys lost in Anacostia apartment fire

Some D.C. firefighters saved Christmas for a family that lost all their gifts in a fire Tuesday.

"We had just left out of the house at 5:30 and we got a phone call from our landlord telling us that our apartment was on fire," Maurice Dixon said.

Engine 15 is less than a mile away from the Dixons' apartment in Anacostia, so firefighters quickly extinguished the accidental fire, but the apartment sustained significant damage.

Just before the fire, they wrapped their grandchildren’s gifts and placed them under the Christmas tree.

"Everything was lost, all the presents,” Maurice Dixon said. “The whole apartment is gone."

Enter Deputy Chief Ed Pearson, whose duties include surveying fire scenes.

"I noticed a lot of toys that were in the living room area," he said.

So he made calls and sent emails, hitting up organizations like the Marine Corps, Toys for Tots, the firefighters union and the burn fund. They all answered the call, and within days, the grandchildren had a whole new set of gifts.

"Now we feel like all hope is not lost, that we still can do that because of all the people that came out to help us," Cheryl Dixon said.

"We’re just happy to be able to assist the family, in making sure they have a merry Christmas," Pearson said.

But just as they were giving Christmas back to the Dixons this Christmas Eve, the firefighters were cut short. Engine 15 had another call.

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