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Community helps disabled veteran after tragic house fire

Aug. 24, 2014 at 9:54 AM ET

Captain Edward Klein has seen his share of pain and loss. Two years ago, the veteran soldier stepped on an IED in Afghanistan, losing both his legs, and arm and most of his remaining fingers.

After 18 months in rehab, Klein and his wife Jessica were just starting a new life together, putting the worst behind them until 10 days ago when their Maryland home caught fire.

"I started to see the smoke," Klein said. " About that time the alarms started going off."

Video: A Maryland community has rallied around a wounded war hero who lost both his legs, an arm and most of his remaining fingers in addition to his home. NBC’s Charles Hadlock reports.

But Klein and his wife Jessica were in the basement, and due to his injuries, Klein needed help escaping the flames. 

"She was able to pull me out onto the front porch," Klein said. "And this is the really amazing part — that by the time I got outside, there were neighbors already standing on the porch waiting to help."

But that wasn't the only help neighbors and others in the community were willing to give.

"They have nothing," said Robert Rubin, one of the Klein family's neighbors. "Really, when you say they have the clothes on their back, they don't even have that."

When news spread about the devastating fire and the wounded soldier who was now homeless, the community rallied. The local supermarket pledged to donate groceries to the family for the rest of the year and a local veteran's group is financing a new car after the couple's was destroyed in the fire.

And perhaps the best news of all is that the couple won't be homeless for long.

They're getting a brand new house from Our Bravest, a nonprofit that builds custom homes for catastrophically injured service members. The organization has already raised tens of thousands of dollars from across the country for Klein and his family.

"As Americans it is our duty, it is our responsibility to say thank you for your sacrifice," Our Bravest CEO, Frank Siller said.

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