Two families flee early morning fire |

Two families flee early morning fire

Susie Vasquez
Nevada Appeal News Service
Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal News Service Family photographs are covered in ash in the back yard of a home on Kimmerling Road in the Gardnerville Ranchos that caught on fire early Wednesday.

An early-morning fire razed one residence in a duplex about 4:20 a.m. Wednesday, displacing two families at 1432 Kimmerling Road in the Gardnerville Ranchos.

Tragedy was averted by simple fire drill exercises, said resident Andica Alexander.

“Practice fire drills with your kids,” she said emphatically. “We got everything out that matters.”

The two-story unit was home to a family of six, including four children: Kalee, 12, Candace, 9, Kassandra, 5, and Seth, 6 months.

“The family has lost everything,” said Capt. Terry Taylor of the East Fork Fire & Paramedic District. “But the mom was a stickler and when the smoke alarms went off she would say, ‘It’s a fire drill. Let’s go.’ Those kids knew how to get out and go to their meeting spot.”

Fire Marshal Steve Eisele said the children went through the district’s fire-safe trailer program.

The home, where the family lived for three years, was destroyed in about 20 minutes, Alexander said.

Everything in the unit was lost with the exception of a few items now lined up along the fence.

The father, Michael Roach, a machinist, said he smelled smoke when he got up to go to work.

“If he had already left, we wouldn’t be here,” Alexander said.

The drama was no less profound on the other side of the duplex, where a 5-day-old infant woke up for her feeding about the time the fire started.

When mom smelled the smoke she alerted husband Blake Myers and the couple grabbed the kids, the car keys, the family photos and fled.

“We’re fine. More than that, actually,” Blake Myers said. “We had some smoke and water damage in my son’s bedroom and our bathroom, but that’s about it.

“The fire crews were very helpful. They moved everything from the top floor,” he said. “I just hope Mike (Roach) and his family are okay.”

The Myers will be staying with family until any issues are resolved and the American Red Cross has provided temporary housing for the Roach family.

Grandfather Michael Roach Sr. said Wal-Mart provided essentials, like underwear and school clothes, just hours after the disaster. The company paid for $220 of the $350 bill, he said.

“(Wal-Mart officials) had no way of knowing our claim was legitimate, but they were there for us at 8 a.m.,” he said. “We were a little rattled, so they had a lady help us. They were great.”

Both families were renting and didn’t have renter’s insurance. Damage to the building and its contents will exceed $200,000, according to Taylor.

Firefighters from East Fork, Sheridan, Gardnerville, Fish Springs and Ruhenstroth responded to the blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Anyone wishing to make donations for the Roach family can call 720-3598.