For roughly 15 years Shane Preator has suited up to save lives as a volunteer firefighter, currently at the Arch Street Fire Department. Preator says, once the fires are out, often, a different type of emergency emerges.
"Everybody is always scrambling to come up with necessities people need to make it through before Red Cross comes, before help comes," Preator says.
Preator would know, he says years ago, a house fire took everything he had.
"You're lost," he says. "When I went through my fire there were a couple days. I didn't know what I was going to do, where I was going to sleep, what I was going to eat."
It hit him again, weeks ago when a friend posted about the family that lost everything when a fire gutted a home in Roland. Preator took to Facebook and started a group called Disaster Relief Services, collecting items like clothes and toiletries that will be waiting to help families before a fire even starts.
"When the smoke clears, you see what you don't have anymore. It's the small things that mean the most," says Preator.
So far community members have lined up to give donations and even free storage space for Preator. He's had such a warm response, he's turning Disaster Relief Services into a nonprofit organization.