Maryland

Community Rallies to Help Wounded Vet After Tragic Fire

Less than a week has passed since a wounded veteran and his wife lost most of their belongings in a house fire.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue responded to Capt. Edward Klein and his wife Jessica's home in Laytonsville around 10 p.m. last Thursday for a large house fire. 

Jessica said within minutes of the fire starting, she smelled smoke and couldn't see two feet in front of her. Edward Klein, who lost both legs and an arm when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan two years ago, tried to climb out of the basement by himself. 

“[Jessica] was able to pull me out onto the front porch... this is the really amazing part. By the time I got outside there were neighbors already standing on the front porch waiting to help," Klein said. 

The Kleins had moved into their handicap-accessible home on Warfield Road in March 2014 after Edward spent 18 months in rehabilitation at Walter Reed Medical Center.

“[The fire] was definitely a huge step back to getting back to normal again," Jessica said. 
 

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Jessica and Edward, who have been married for 8 years, are already receiving help on a local and national level from generous donors. Kevin and Jason Kirsch, who own Chevy Chase Supermarket, heard about the fire and contacted the Kleins, offering them free groceries for the rest of the year.
 
"They picked up Jessica, took her shopping and helped her carry the groceries home. I mean it was just fantastic," Edward said.
 
For now, the Kleins are living in military housing at Walter Reed.
 
They've been given $10,000 by OurBravest.org, an organization that builds smart homes for disabled veterans at no cost to the families. OurBravest.org plans to help the Kleins break ground on a new home next year once enough money for construction is raised.
 
In the meantime, "Truckin 4 Troops" has helped the Kleins finance a replacement car.
 
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