By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A group of off-duty Philadelphia firefighters donated their time over the past two days to perform some repairs on the house of one of their own, killed in the line of duty this spring.

Diane Neary, wife of fire lieutenant Robert Neary, says life has not been the same since her husband perished in the Kensington warehouse fire on April 9th (see related story).  But she says there is a message here.

“It’s not only bad things that happen in our society — there is truly a loving, loving family that exists out there,” she said today.

In addition to repaving the driveway of the home in the Somerton section of the city (below), repairs were also being made to the roof and fence.


(Credit: Michelle Durham)


The idea came from Engine 58 firefighter Mike Whalen (third from left in top photo).

“Diane was looking for nothing for free,” he said today.  “She wanted to give the work to a fireman so they could make some money.  So I put something on our Internet forum, and it just absolutely snowballed.”

Diane says her husband would be thrilled.

“I know he’s up there smiling. My husband loved this fire department, and I’m so happy that this is an extended family for me — bigger than I could ever imagine.”


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Michelle Durham