News

Thief ruined family's Christmas; firefighters fixed it

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

There wasn’t an emergency at Susan Chapman’s apartment, but she was thankful when Lt. Kevin Crossen of South King Fire and Rescue walked in the door.

“You guys are like family,” Chapman said through tears as Crossen and other firefighters walked in with bags of groceries.

Chapman and her family were robbed early on Christmas Eve. At about 4 a.m., they heard a thump in the living room and came out of their bedrooms to see a man in a white t-shirt and dark pants leaving through the sliding glass door of their ground-floor apartment. He took Chapman’s purse with cash, credit cards and cellular telephone inside, a computer, electric organ, jewelry, stereo, her son’s video game machine and her grandson’s toys.

Crossen, a lieutenant in the fire department, told Chapman the firefighters wanted to “help you get back on your feet.”

Crossen learned about Chapman’s plight while watching the evening news on television and decided the local firefighters association should help. He contacted Chapman and asked her what was taken and said the association would do what it could.

Along with the groceries, Crossen said the association included gift certificates to clothing stores to replace a jacket and other items. They are working on finding a replacement computer for the family.

Chapman said the firefighters’ generosity gave her family “a second chance.”

The family has been through some rough times. Chapman’s daughter, Patricia, died several years ago from a heart ailment. Her son, Donald, is in the hospital suffering from another heart condition. And Chapman said they lost their home in a predatory lending scheme trying to pay for the hospital bills.

After the groceries were delivered, the firefighters took time to show Chapman’s grandchildren the fire engine in front of their home.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565, mhalliday@fedwaymirror.com

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