The gestures warm the cockles of his heart.

The phone calls are music to his ears.

Friends and neighbors of entertainer Dave Kline have been calling him daily offering to help him and his wife, Kathy, recover from a Dec. 14 fire that destroyed their Spring Township home.

Most of the calls are coming from the craftsmen, artists, writers and musicians that Kline said he has worked with for more than three decades.

"They are my brothers and sisters and they have always been there for me," he said. "Their support reminds me of the oldest adage in entertainment, 'The show must go on.' "

"My children have been there for us; they're pretty much heading up the recovery project."

Kline also was effusive in his praise for the first responders who fought the fire and recovered two pets, a cat and a dog. Logan, a six-month-old Great Pyrenees mix puppy and Leo, a 2-year-old rescue cat both perished in the fire. The Klines had rescued both animals from shelters. 

Kline hedshot

Dave Kline

"Our immediate neighbors were there right away and called us," Kline said. "I think some of them would have run into the house if the firefighters weren't there to stop them."

Kline, a former executive with the defunct Reading Eagle Company, was at his daughter Hillary's house in the Lehigh Valley with his wife, Kathy, when a neighbor called him to say the house was on fire. At about 5:30 p.m., crews responded to flames at the rear of the house in the 1800 block of South Mountain Drive.

Kline said the cause of the fire has been determined to be electrical in nature, but the exact source of the blaze is still under investigation. Township Deputy Fire Chief Rick Schartel said Saturday that no cause had been determined. 

Kline said he had not gotten to the Christmas lights.

"There was no Clark Griswold effect," he joked, referring to the holiday classic "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."

"I've learned a lot from the firefighters," Kline said. "Did you know you should unplug any appliance that generates heat, like a toaster, whenever you're not at home?"

In addition to an exact source that sparked the blaze, Kline said he also doesn't have an exact estimate of damage to the home. He said the living room and kitchen are burned beyond recognition.

Paintings and other fixtures and appliances in rooms that weren't burned melted onto walls and furniture. The entire house is damaged by smoke and heat. His prized musical instruments were kept in cases in his music room. That room was hit by fire and some instruments were damaged. He said his musical friends are evaluating what instruments can be salvaged and which are a loss. 

"We're not sure yet but the house may be a total rebuild," Kline said Saturday between commitments he has to local groups he has supported for decades through his music and other contributions.

"If we rebuild, it will be here in Berks County," Kline said. "Whatever happens, we already have our places picked out in Gethsemane Cemetery so I'm here to stay."

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