Cherished possessions survive devastating house fire
June 19, 2003
When Christina Hollahan looked through the charred remains of her Dori Way home, the only thing she found was a wooden hope chest with things she had collected and saved since she was a little girl.
The chest was burned — but the items, though a little waterlogged, were OK.
“I don’t know how, but, incredibly, everything inside was OK,” said Chris Wyatt, Christina’s boyfriend.
“There were special birthday cards inside, the first thing I ever bought for her, and a necklace from her grandmother.”
On Sunday, Hollahan and her aunt, Margaret Bartek, went shopping. When they returned, they found emergency crews putting out a fire that had consumed Hollahan’s home. Hollahan’s dogs Paisley and Kashmier were found unharmed. Bartek’s cat did not survive.
“I love Christina, and I’m in love with her,” Wyatt said. “We had talked about moving in together into my house. Now there’s nothing to move.
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“We’ve been together more than a year and a half. It was love the first second I saw her. Since the day we met, we’ve been together, nonstop.”
Wyatt said Hollahan and Bartek lost everything. Shoes, clothes, makeup — not one shred of their belongings remain.
“The firemen were so incredible to risk a lot to find the dogs,” Wyatt said. “They went under the house, searching to find the one dog. Eventually, they found her.
“Thank God the dogs are OK, and her car. That’s about all she has, and the clothes she was wearing. That’s pretty brutal. But we would like to know what caused the fire.”
The Carson City Fire Department has not yet told them the cause of the fire.
Hollahan has moved in with Wyatt. He and several of his friends have been building a fence around his property to keep her dogs.
Wyatt said Hollahan is “kind of a mess.”
She started crying while watching 10 people work on the fence. “All of these people are here for me,” she said.
“Just finishing the fence for the dogs is huge,” Wyatt said. “It’s been a drain financially on me. Maybe someone can donate some 2-by-4s so I can finish it. I’ve had four and five guys working every night to get it done.
“People have been helping with things like hair dryers, curlers, makeup, things like that. Christina could use dog food, for medium-size dogs. And wet food; we mix it with the dry.”
Wyatt said the job now is to get everything from the fire thrown out and the frame of the home off the property.
“Christina owned the trailer, but rented the land,” Wyatt said. “She didn’t have insurance. We need to get the trailer off so she doesn’t have to pay another month’s rent.”
Hollahan , 26, works part time at a dentist’s office. She could use some clothes. She is a size 4 and wears a 6 1/2 shoe.
“It’s tough to imagine losing everything,” Wyatt said.
Champion Motor Speedway will hold a benefit for Hollahan Saturday. Drivers will go through the grandstands and pit area collecting cash to help her. Hollahan and Wyatt recently won $600 in the “Mad Mutha-in-law” race. They donated it to the drivers’ points fund. Hollahan works Saturday nights in the speedway beer booth.
Wyatt said the trailer’s undercarriage is in good shape mechanically, and that if anyone wants it, they should call Champion Speedway at 267-0505.
YOU CAN HELP
What: Christina Hollahan benefit
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Champion Motor Speedway
Donations may be dropped off at the speedway office, 1210 Race Track Road, 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. weekdays.