PD, FD come through for cop in need

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Suffolk Police Officer Charlotte Pavao lost her great-great-grandfather’s dining room table.

Her marriage license, school diplomas and family photographs are gone.

But the fire that swept through her Kilby Shores home Sunday night, destroying most of her possessions, only strengthened the bond with her family in blue.

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Within minutes after firefighters arrived on the scene, nearly two dozen police department employees – on and off-duty –

and their families converged upon the couple’s Lipton Circle house to help the couple.

&uot;It was amazing,&uot; said Pavao, an 18-month veteran of the Suffolk Police Department. &uot;Everything happened so quickly.

&uot;It seemed like whole force was out. It was a blessing that everyone showed up the way they did.&uot;

Pavao was responding to a citizen’s call when her husband, Tony Pavao, telephoned to let her know their house had been hit by lightning during Sunday’s storm. Minutes later, she turned into her neighborhood to find flames shooting from the roof of her home.

&uot;I went in, yelled for my husband and we grabbed the dogs and got out,&uot; Pavao said. The couple has four pomeranians.

Firefighters, dispatched to the two-story house in the 1400 block of Lipton Circle around 5:40 p.m., could do little to save the house once the roof collapsed, said Capt. Jim Judkins, spokesman for the Suffolk Fire Department.

The 3-year-old house, which was insured, was a complete loss, he said. What wasn’t damage by fire suffered significant smoke and water damage, he said.

Firefighters were able to help salvage some things from the home, thanks to help from the couple’s neighbors and friends, Judkins said.

&uot;We were looking out for one of our own,&uot; said Judkins. &uot;There are antiques and other things stored in garages throughout the neighborhood.

&uot;There was a real outpouring of support from neighbors and off-duty police officers who just wanted to help,&uot; he said. &uot;It doesn’t matter if it’s fire or police. If someone is in trouble, we just want to help. That’s the neat thing about the brotherhood of public service.&uot;

Pavao’s family in blue will continue to help the couple weather the crisis.

The Suffolk Police Officers Association will be establishing a fund to take up community contributions for the Pavao’s, said Detective Joyce Williams, the organization’s president.

Also, Norfolk attorney Michael Imprevento, the organization’s legal counsel, has volunteered his services to help out the couple, she added.

&uot;We are a big blue family,&uot; Williams said. &uot;And when one of our family members needs help, we are there for them.&uot;

Anyone who would like to make a donation to help the Pavao family can send checks to The Jeff


Messinger Memorial Fund, 400 Market St., Suffolk, Virginia

23434, attn:

Pam King.

People should put Pavao’s name in the memo line of their check.