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Oxford community holds benefit for police officer who lost home in fire

Posted: 10:34 PM, Dec 23, 2017
Updated: 2017-12-24 03:40:33Z

OXFORD, Ohio -- The clothes on officer Pete Durkin's back were donated by the community.

Durkin and his wife lost everything when their home caught fire two weeks ago. Durkin was sleeping on the couch with his wife when he got a call from a dispatcher. 

“They said, ‘Pete, we’re getting a lot of reports. We think your house is on fire,’” Durkin said.

Durkin, his wife and four dogs were able to get out safely. Durkin said he could see the flames moving up the walls. The whole structure was almost engulfed by the time they made it outside.

The Durkins lost their home and all of their possessions, but Lt. Laura Fening said he never felt sorry for himself.

“As a first responder, you know at any time it could be you. There’s no reason it couldn’t be me. I was there at the fire,” Fening said. “Pete Durkin kept his cool. He acted like a first responder would. He wasn’t emotional.”

A day after the fire, Durkin, a 10-year veteran, volunteered at the police department's charity event, Christmas Caravan.

“We couldn’t think of a better time to do it. We didn’t even think twice,” Durkin said.

Now, two weeks after Durkin lost his home, the Oxford community held a benefit at Fiesta Charra to raise money for the family.

“The outpouring from the community has been overwhelming,” Durkin said. “The clothes I’m wearing tonight are all donated from the community. It’s been a tremendous help. We can’t thank everybody enough.”

Through it all, Durkin remains optimistic this holiday season.

“It was probably the best Christmas we’ll ever have,” Durkin said. “For the fact that my wife and I were able to be here for Christmas for one.”

If you’d like to donate to the Durkin family, you can drop off cash, gift cards or donations to the Oxford Police Department.