Community Helps Gainesville Police Officer Recover from House Fire

Gainesville Police Officer Keith Bartlett is used to helping people in times of need. Now he's on the other side, in need of help after fire gutted his Era home Monday night.

"I ran to the back door, opened up the back door, and the flames and everything just hit me in the face," said Bartlett. "I don't know what else to say about it. Terrifying."

Bartlett isn't sure what caused the fire. He wonders if it might have been a spark from him forging a knife for his brother for Christmas. What he does know is most of his things are gone, except for what really matters.

"My family is the absolute most important thing to me," Bartlett said.

His daughter sorted through a few photos that were singed, but spared.

"I'm really surprised all these survived," said Bartlett's daughter, Hannah Vanhoozer.

The fire put Bartlett into a role reversal. He is a police officer in the nearby city of Gainesville.

"I've been at quite a few house fires, patting people on the back, telling them, 'You know it's going to be OK. This is just stuff,'" Bartlett laughed. "Standing on this side, I had no idea what I was talking about!"

The Gainesville Police Department and the Bartletts' church have collected donations for the family. On Tuesday night, a GoFundMe page set up for the Bartlett family had already raised more than $20,000.

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