PISCATAWAY — For 25 years Joe Keleman volunteered his time as a firefighter in Dunellen. Now, more than a month after he lost everything and was critically injured when his house exploded, his family is hoping people will help in his recovery efforts.

It was early in the morning of June 11 when the explosion that rocked Keleman's neighborhood caused second-degree burns over 28 percent of his body and caused other injuries that left him hospitalized.

The family has established a GoFundMe page to raise money for Keleman who lost everything, including one of his cats. Two other cats were badly injured.

Keleman's sister, Irene Fiore, said that while there was considerable sadness at everything her brother had lost, there was also relief that he continues to recover from his injuries.

"On the positive side, my brother survived!" she said.

After spending two weeks on a ventilator while he recovered from his injuries, Fiore said he is now recuperating at a family member's home as he and his family figure out what he will do next.

"It will take a tremendous amount of personal strength and financial assistance for my brother to rebuild his life," Fiore said. "While we are overwhelmed with gratitude for all the people that have already donated to my brother, the enormity of this tragedy requires us to continue reaching out to everyone for additional help."

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Sergio Bichao contributed to this report

Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com

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