A family burned out of their home last week by an electrical fire are getting back on their feet thanks to an outpouring of support from the community.
"My wife and I are just overwhelmed," said James Thornhill.
According to Carson City Fire Chief Stacey Giomi, an investigation revealed that a bare electrical wire above the ceiling fan in the kitchen came into contact with metal, sparking the fire that raced through the family's Brown Street townhouse March 8. Firewalls and firefighters were able to prevent the flames from spreading to connected homes, but the blaze leveled the Thornhill's unit.
Not only were James Thornhill and his wife of 32 years, Christina, left homeless, but their son and daughter-in-law, four grandchildren and daughter were also living in the three-bedroom townhouse with the dream of saving up to buy a house.
Dozens of Carson City residents responded to the Thornhills' plight, dropping off clothing, furniture, gift cards and $350 in checks at the Nevada Appeal for the family. In addition to those items, the manager of the Parkway Manor Apartments, in northeast Carson City, offered the clan a three-bedroom apartment at a steeply reduced rate for four months. After four months the rent increases by $100 a month. The Thornhills got the keys on Wednesday.
James said he and his wife have been busy sorting through the donated clothing. What they can use they keep, and what they can't they've been taking to Friends In Service Helping.
On Friday, James made a trip to pick up a donated sofa bed, air mattress and television from Jean and Gerry Darrow. He also picked up a bedroom set from the Wyatt family, and two daybeds and other furniture from the newspaper offices.
"We are blessed," said James. "I'm overwhelmed and thank everyone for doing this. I appreciate everything that everyone has done."
The reaction was unexpected, said Christina, who cried when she saw the amount of items Appeal readers had donated.
Christina said she's used to helping people, but has never been in the position to need help.
We've had rough times before, but nothing like this," said James.
"I'm so happy that everybody just went out of their way to help," Christina said. "I thank God for it every night."
• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.