Family Displaced By Fire Gets a Firehouse Christmas


Firefighters at local firehouse, Engine 266, pulled out all the stops with bells and whistles attached, to bless a family in need on Christmas morning.

With a breakfast feast of sumptuous thickly sliced bacon, eggs, bagels with every fixing you could think of, and a truckload of toys and supplies stacked under a towering tree for the children, Moyette Clarke and her family could not have been happier.

“After everything we’ve been through since the fire, what these firefighters have done for my family is nothing short of amazing. My husband and I are completely blown away and feel so blessed by their big-hearted act of kindness,” Clarke said.

Clarke, her husband, Sheldon Greene, and their two young children were left homeless after a fire decimated their third-floor apartment on Beach 91st Street this past Labor Day on September 4. Now, more than three months later, the family is still homeless and living in a shelter in Brooklyn.

Firefighter Kevin Dolan said he first met Clarke a few months ago when she went to the firehouse to request a fire report. “After hearing her story, I told her that every year we host a family in need on Christmas, and firehouse Captain Gerry Liotta would be honored if they would be our guests. We try to do this under the radar without any fanfare or attention. Our sole goal is to spread Christmas cheer and the spirit of giving to local families in need.”

Clarke said after that first encounter with Dolan, since then almost every day, he would contact the family to see how they were doing. Clarke said, “Firefighter Dolan would call or text us to see if we needed anything, like transportation, food, supplies. He and the other firefighters are a godsend for our family.

“Living in the shelter with my six-month-old daughter and four-year-old son is tough. Also both of my husband’s legs were injured in the fire, and for over a month he could not walk, and had to leave his job. That being said, I can’t complain, because of the faith that I have. We still have life and hope for new beginnings. Many people don’t walk away from a fire and live to tell the story, much less three months later find themselves being treated to a private Christmas feast at a firehouse.”

Clarke and her husband, Sheldon, said that their experience with the firefighters has inspired them both to join the FDNY.

“After what we experienced with the fire and how these firemen risked their lives to save us and the other families, both my husband and I have been inspired to join the fire department and will be taking the next exam. I love helping people, and when I saw what these firefighters did to save us, I want to do the same — to be in a role, where I too, can rescue people,” Clarke said.

For Clarke, Engine 266’s kind act exemplifies the true meaning of Christmas. “Christmas is the spirit of giving,” Clarke said. “It’s a time to give freely, and not expect anything in return. This is what firemen do everyday, and we will forever be grateful.”

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