Firefighter loses everything after Christmas day fire

“We lost everything in the fire but each other.”

A Baton Rouge firefighter and his family have lost everything but each other after their Livingston Parish home went up in flames on Christmas Day in 2022.

Joseph Rutherford, a new recruit for the BRFD, had a home on Satsuma Rd. off of Black Mud Rd. On Christmas Day, a space heater is what’s believed to have started a fire, although the official cause of fire is undetermined at this time.

The firefighter had to work at the fire department on Christmas morning so he did not want his wife and their four children to be home alone on Christmas. It’s why everyone was at Rutherford’s parents home in Clinton when the home went up in flames.

They found out after a neighbor called around 2:30am alerting them of the disaster.

“So I initially declined the call because I was like who the heck is calling me this early, then my wife’s phone rang and she answered. She sprung up and said, ‘Oh my god, our house is on fire’,” said Rutherford.

“When I walked up to the house, I was extremely emotional and kind of confused on how this could happen to us. I cried a few times, but the fireman there were comforting and really tried their best to save what they could. But it didn’t really hit me till the next day when it sank in that it wasn’t a dream and everything my family had, is now gone. I was getting sick to my stomach and just kinda overwhelmed, but the immediate help really eased a lot of that stress,” said Rutherford.

“We lost everything in the fire but each other,” said Rutherford. “We’re living at my parents house in Clinton right now. As far as needs go, I think we are good for now. We’re still working through everything. We have received an abundance of donations. What we really need are prayers.”

Despite the firefighter saying they do not need anything, the community is coming together to help the family with clothes and the children’s uniforms.

All four children attend Doyle in Livingston Parish and in need of that specific uniform for all the children.

Their sizes are as follows:

  • (1) Girls sizes 7/8
  • (1) Boys size 16/18
  • (2) Boys bottom size 8 and 10 in shirts
  • (1) Men’s XL shirts & 38 pants
  • (1) Women’s size medium

The Baton Rouge Fire Union will begin collecting clothes on Jan. 4th at their office. Donations can be dropped off at the Union’s office at BRFD headquarters.

Rutherford also serves in the National Guard. His military family has set up a GoFundMe for the public to help and donate.

“We really want to thank everyone who has helped us in this tough time, even people I didn’t know were calling to see what they could do. I just wish I could thank every single person who has called, gifted, and donated. It really has been something and words cannot describe how grateful my family and I are,“ said Rutherford.

About Kiran Chawla 1141 Articles
I'm an Emmy & Murrow Award winning investigative reporter who simply loves my job!

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