Firefighter pays struggling family's $1K electric bill

A suburban Detroit firefighter has paid off a struggling family's electricity bill of more than $1,000 after responding to a call at their home.

Clinton Township firefighters went to the house Feb. 12 for a non-emergency medical call and learned that one of the children living there needs to be hooked up full-time to a ventilator to breathe. The house didn't have electricity because the parents had fallen behind on their payments and hadn't properly filed a medical waiver that would have kept the power on. The child had to be taken to a hospital.

After the visit, firefighter Ryan McCuenlater paid the entire $1,023 electricity bill. He tried to keep the move anonymous, but the move impressed his boss and his name got out, The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens reported.

"This type of concern for the greater well-being of this family is where the heart of this employee lies," Fire Chief Michael Phy told township officials in an email. "His act, although anonymous, should not go overlooked or ignored."

McCuen, 35, said he didn't think of it as "an extraordinary act," but that he hopes it inspires others to take similar action.

"I don't know why I did it, but I do know those kids needed some help. I was glad to do it," he said.

McCuen was among a group of firefighters who were laid off during the economic downturn. He was hired back last year after the community received federal grant money.

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