Volunteer firefighter pitches in to combat blaze at his own home

Vischer Ferry fire District truck

Mark Hines lays his fire gear out every night before bed.

“In case we get a call in the middle of the night,” said Hines, a firefighter with the Vischer Ferry Volunteer Fire Company. “I can be ready.”

He never thought the call would be for his own home.

On March 18, Mark and his wife Megan were woken by the sounds of the ductwork warping in their Rexford home. Once Mark Hines saw the orange glow peering through the walls, he was all too familiar with what was happening.

The couple immediately grabbed their three young children, Micah, Mayah, and Mason, and made it out of the home. Once he knew his family was safe, Mark Hines joined another family — his fellow firefighters — in combating the blaze.

“I told him, ‘If you’re going to help, just please don’t go back inside” said his wife Megan

So, Mark Hines stood outside, unwrapping hoses, turning on air packs, and directing his colleagues through his home.

“We have a baby gate at the top of the stairs, so I’m happy Mark was able to give that type of info they would need,” Megan Hines said.

Mark Hines knew every firefighter who showed up that night, as well as all the equipment they were using.

“I had my head about me,” he said. “I knew everything that was happening around me. I had peace in the midst of it, unexplainable peace” 

For now, the family is staying with a friend, but will soon be moving into a home in Clifton Park. This temporary situation is close enough to their home that the kids will still be able to go to school, Mark can still take fire calls, and the family can still go to church at Fruitful Vine Christian Church. 

As the family thanked their community for the outpouring of help through this time, they stressed how their faith played a part as well.

“We can’t help but to acknowledge it,” said Mark. “We cherish and fully believe in the power of prayer,”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. However, Mark stressed one key detail about how the flames were eventually extinguished.

“If you are a fire department and you don’t use CAFS, you should. It saved my house.” Mark wrote in a Facebook post on his wife’s page. CAFS — or compressed air foam systems — is a technology employed by some fire departments to more efficiently put fires out, as well as reduce water use.

Approximately 2,800 gallons of CAFS were used when putting out the fire at the Hines home. Recently, there was another fire in their neighborhood which Mark says required 40,000 gallons of water, causing substantial water damage in addition to the burning.

Water only cools fire, meaning the fire could start up again if not totally hosed. CAFS smothers it, killing the flames much more quickly. 

While the situation may be unfamiliar, the Hines family is no stranger to chaos. Megan works two remote jobs in addition to what calls “the hardest job one could ever imagine,”— staying home with the kids. Mark, in addition to his volunteer work with the Vischer Ferry Volunteer Fire company, manages a rehabilitation program for adults with disabilities. He’s also a full-time student taking online classes through Western Governors University.

In light of such an event, the family is grateful they are all safe.

“Once I knew my family was safe, the house is just a box you live in.”

A GoFundMe and SoKind regsistry have been started to benefit the family. To make a donation visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/7a5dmb-family-of-five-lost-everything-in-house-fire or https://sokindregistry.org/registry/20965.

Categories: News, Saratoga County

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