Communities embrace firefighter and officer impacted by house fire

CHELSEA, Ala. (WIAT) – Last Wednesday, a house fire in the Chelsea Ridge subdivision impacted multiple families–but maybe not in the most obvious ways.  Those families include the Cochran’s, the Hostetter’s, the Hoover Police Department, and the Chelsea Fire Department.

Officer Chris Cochran has been with the Hoover Police Department since 1998.  He has worked as a Student Resource Officer at Spain Park High School for nine years.  He, and his family–including four children all under the age of 10, lived in Chelsea.  Last week, the Cochran family was able to escape from the home as it went up in flames.  Chris had minor injuries, but he was back there on Thursday, looking for anything salvageable.

While responding to the fire at the Cochran’s, Chelsea firefighter Lt. Ben Hostetter suffered a medical event.  His own crew treated him until he could be transported to Grandview Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition.

Since that day, friends of both men and their families have rallied together.  Each has a Gofundme account–and each are seeing thousands of dollars in donations.

Both communities–Hoover and Chelsea–have also responded.  Monetary donations and small acts of kindness have been flooding in for the men.

“Chris’s son is in all-stars,” explained Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer.  “His uniforms were all destroyed–so our Chelsea Youth Club got a uniform supplier to replace his uniforms in a day.”

Cochran also relayed that story for us, explaining that the process of getting those uniforms normally takes weeks.  That’s just one example.

Nadia Harless, a long-time family friend of the Hostetter’s, told CBS 42 that she felt called to create a Gofundme account for the family.  “It’s that grieving time,” she explained of Hostetter’s continued stay in the hospital.  “They’re going through all of it.  They just need prayers and continue to share the Gofundme account.  Anything helps, because they are going to have lots of financial issues, and I’d rather take one more burden off of them.”

In Hoover, the police department was overwhelmed by community members and coworkers reaching out and asking how they could help the Cochran’s.  The department decided to set up drop-off spots for monetary donations and gift cards for the family.  “They claim us, we belong to them,” Officer Brian Hale explained of the community.  “They’ve taken a situation where we as first responders…police, fire, it’s our job to help people and serve them.  They’ve turned the tables on us and they say, look–we want to help you.”

If you would like to donate to help Officer Chris Cochran and his family who lost everything in the house fire here are some options:

Donation locations (normal business hours apply, weekday, 8am-5pm):

1. Public Safety Center (Police Records side of building) 2020 Valleydale Road. Contact is Lt. Scott Mcdonald or Ms. Lori Patterson
2. Hoover Police Operations 3142 Lorna Road. Contact is the desk Officer or Lt. Fountain
3. City Hall-Police Administration 100 Municipal Lane, first floor

If you would like to donate to help Lt. Ben Hostetter and his family, visit his gofundme page here.

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