Families who lost their homes to fire look for help
How to donate
People can contribute to the Ernst family here.
The Ross family’s page is here.
Donations for both families can be left here:
All Seasons Pools & Spas, 135 W. McKnight Way, Grass Valley, CA 95949
What they need:
Clothes, gift cards, a place to stay, school supplies, pet supplies for dogs and cats.
More details of clothes sizes the families need can be found on their Facebook pages.
Two families that both lost their homes in separate fires Monday are now looking to the Nevada County community for help.
Christina Ross held her children in the dark as her family surveyed the ash, rubble and tires — all that was left of their trailer after a fire destroyed their Long Valley Road home and reminded them to be thankful.
“I just held them and grabbed them and said that could have been us,” Ross said. “We could have gone along with all that stuff.”
Ross said her entire trailer went up in flames just minutes after her power was restored following a PG&E public safety power shutoff. While the family wasn’t home at the time of the fire, neighbors noticed smoke and were able to open the trailer’s door, allowing Clyde, the family’s 14-year-old Pomeranian, to escape.
Minutes after Ross’s trailer was engulfed in flames, the Ernst family lost their home in Rough and Ready in what fire officials believe may have been caused by several lit candles in the house. The family also was not in their home at the time of the conflagration, and are thankful that firefighters were able to save their pet kitten.
“We’re just trying to get a roof over our heads tonight,” Jenelle Ernst said of the challenges her family has faced since the fire took her home. “We need to deal with a lot of processes and have a lot to get done.”
Now both families have Facebook fundraising pages that people can find on by searching “Christina Ross” and “Vadie Ellen Nasey” on http://www.facebook.com. Vadie Nasey, manager of All Seasons Pools & Spas in Grass Valley, has also turned the back storage area of the store into a makeshift donation center for both fire victims.
Nasey, who has been friends with Ross for two decades and works with Ernst at All Seasons, said she had to find a way to help the families, no matter the personal cost.
“It does kind of feel like running a second business at times, but I really care for them and want the best for their families,” Nasey said.
Nasey said after creating the fundraising page for Ernst she had to open her doors early the next morning to accept donations of clothes, pet and school supplies. She estimates that between the people who have dropped off donations at the store and those her daughter picked up from residents who couldn’t drop them off, about a dozen have made contributions.
Ross said the most difficult part of losing her home is navigating the process of what to do next while dealing with the cleanup process.
“I’ve been on every waiting list in Nevada County,” Ernst said. “It’s just ridiculous that we have to suffer through the aftermath when PG&E has known about the danger for years and done nothing.”
According to Nasey, the Ernst family has dealt with the same problems while also having to worry about residents interested in seeing the fire damage for themselves.
“Jenelle has just been overwhelmed with the claims and people constantly calling,” Nasey said. “People go to her house and look through their stuff.”
Despite their hardships, both families have tried to stay positive and are thankful for the community support they’ve already received. However, the trauma is still recent for Ross to process sometimes.
She said a few times already she’s left work and started to drive home only to eventually pull over and weep.
“I felt like I was in a really bad dream and needed to be pinched,” Ross said. “I was going to a place I used to call home. That was my home. Yeah, it was a trailer, but it was ours. It was my home.”
In an attempt to keep their spirits up, the Ross family went trick-or-treating despite their costumes being destroyed in the fire.
“We made a promise that we were not going to mention anything about our situation,” Ross said. “We’re going to have fun and enjoy Halloween night and we did.”
According to Ross, she’s endured plenty of hardship and has always made it through. Ross said she had cancer surgery in March and is now in remission, but the costs left her homeless until a friend gifted her the trailer.
“I need to count the stars that we’re breathing, things will look up, they usually always do,” Ross said. “The universe has some reason for this to happen and I don’t know what it is yet, but it’s never steered me wrong.”
To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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