Community rallies around Bridgeport family after fire

Douglas-Okanogan Fire District No. 15 expresses well wishes for Pat McFadden’s and Tommy’s recovery.

Submitted photo
Douglas-Okanogan Fire District No. 15 expresses well wishes for Pat McFadden’s and Tommy’s recovery.

— It was a little over a week ago that Bridgeport High School boys’ basketball coach Pat McFadden bustled through a burning home to save his fiancé’s 8-year-old son, Tommy.

Both remained in Harborview Medical Center for treatment of burns Tuesday – McFadden in serious condition and Tommy, satisfactory.

Early Friday morning, Dec. 5, Tara Martin awoke to a rumbling noise in the Bridgeport home in the 400 block of Highway 173. Upon opening her bedroom door, she saw flames in the hallway.

Martin woke up McFadden, who immediately ran for Tommy’s bedroom, scooped up the boy and shielded him from the flames as he rushed out of the fully-engulfed home. Martin escaped through a window.

“The fire was sudden and intense,” Martin wrote in a Facebook post. “From the time we realized it was fire until the time we escaped with our lives was no more than two minutes.”

Martin said McFadden’s Navy training saved three lives: his own, Tommy’s and ultimately, “mine as my life would be too awful without either of them.”

McFadden and Tommy were transported to Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster and then transferred to Harborview Medical Center. Martin had singed hair but no apparent injuries, Douglas County Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal said.

Community response

Now, a “generous outpouring” of Bridgeport support can be felt in the Seattle hospital, where McFadden and Tommy continue to recover from burns.

“We have had an outpouring of love, prayers and gifts from our friends, family and our new community in Bridgeport,” Martin said. “We feel enveloped in love.”

As of Tuesday, 311 people belong to a Facebook group coordinating donation efforts for McFadden and Martin.

Due to “many” requests, the Bridgeport School District posted an announcement on its home page, informing people of a donation account at Coulee Dam Federal Credit Union under the name, “McFadden Account.”

In a single day, the account received $450 in donations, according to Martin and McFadden’s neighbor, Chance Humborg.

Humborg and his girlfriend Lisa Minden started the Facebook group, “Pat & Tara’s Rebuilding” to “get the ball rolling with help,” Humborg said.

“We are friends, and I know Pat and Tara would’ve done the same for a family in need,” he said.

Others have sent encouragement from afar. Douglas-Okanogan Fire District No. 15 created a “Get Well Tommy & Pat” sign and sent a photograph to Martin. Bridgeport High School’s varsity basketball teams likewise penned “Get Well” posters for Tommy and Pat, Martin said.

Still, others have donated a Kindle Fire, cell phone, clothes, a journal, gift cards, leather Bible and chocolate treats. The Bridgeport School District Staff also gave Martin leave enough to care for her family, she said.

“I choke up with gratitude every time I think of it. It was such a huge relief to Pat.”

“So many people have offered to help I can’t list them all,” Martin said. “I am awed. I am blessed.”


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