New Year not promising for family that had fire |

New Year not promising for family that had fire

F.T. Norton

Stacey Horstman had big plans for her life in 2005. Instead, she finds herself without a home and subsisting on crackers and peanut butter in a hotel room paid for by the Red Cross – a charity that ends today.

“A woman doesn’t realize how fast she can lose everything,” the shell-shocked single mother said.

On Dec. 20, an electrical fire in the attic of her Winnie Lane rental home sent Horstman, her boyfriend and 17-year-old son into the streets. The home wasn’t destroyed by the fire, but whatever the flames didn’t touch was drenched with water or damaged by smoke. Fire crews had to tear the roof apart to make sure nothing was smoldering.

Even before Christmas came, Horstman’s relationship had crumbled. Her boyfriend became abusive then skipped out, taking the food and money with him, she said.

Red Cross was able to put the mother and son up in a Carson City motel for a short time. With a voucher from the Salvation Army, she bought a gift for the teen to open on Christmas morning. But other than the clothes they could grab and the company of their Pomeranian, Tiffy, life is unrecognizable.

“We’re at a loss as to where to turn,” she said.

She was painfully aware of the urgency of her situation Thursday, sitting in the lobby of the City Center Motel as slushy snow fell. In recalling how “far” she’s fallen, she choked back tears.

“I’m really humiliated to be in this position,” she said.

But the mother has had to swallow her pride.

Their needs are basic – a two-bedroom place that will allow her to have Tiffy and a landlord kind enough to waive a deposit or let her make payments.

“That would be a miracle,” she said.

Until then, Horstman, who is on disability, is hoping her Social Security check will come in time to pay the $30-a-day rate for more nights at the motel. If not, she must check out of the motel at noon today – with nowhere to go.

“I can’t believe I’m going through this,” she said. “Our lives have been turned upside down.”

Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.


Donations can be made to help Stacey Horstman get back on her feet at Citibank, account no. 8934148449.