Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 10:19 am | Fair 64º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Community Rallies Around Santa Maria Family After House Fire

Three adults and four children displaced after Christmas evening blaze in northeast neighborhood

Family, friends and strangers are rallying around a Santa Maria family after flames ripped through the second-story of their home while the parents and four children celebrated Christmas evening elsewhere. Click to view larger
Family, friends and strangers are rallying around a Santa Maria family after flames ripped through the second-story of their home while the parents and four children celebrated Christmas evening elsewhere. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Family, friends and strangers are rallying around a Santa Maria family after flames ripped through the second-story of their home while the parents and four children celebrated Christmas evening elsewhere.

Hours after the Sunday blaze damaged their house and destroyed contents, Cody Harris stood in front of the Smoke Tree Lane residence while a steady stream of family and friends stopped by to offer help and support.

“All we’ve got are the clothes on our back,” Harris said.

But he remained thankful his family — including his wife, Dalia, four children ages to 3, 5, 11 and 16, and his mother-in-law — were unharmed.

Multiple calls at 5:45 p.m. Sunday sent Santa Maria firefighters to the 1300 block of Smoke Tree Lane, south of Tunnell Park. 

The cause of the fire remained unknown Sunday, with a fire marshal inside the residence on Monday.

Interim Fire Marshal Darrell Delgado said Monday afternoon the fire's cause appeared to be accidental and likely started in a bedroom on the second floor of the residence.

The family wasn’t home at the time, but upon being alerted about the blaze, Harris raced to the neighborhood, concerned about their dogs. He arrived to see firefighters on the roof with flames shooting upward.

“I wanted to get to my dogs, just trying to get to my dogs. You know, they’re family,” he said. 

As he stood outside the home on Monday, a neighbor dropped by to check on Harris and his family.

Much of the inside of a Santa Maria home was damaged by fire 
Sunday evening. Click to view larger
Much of the inside of a Santa Maria home was damaged by fire Sunday evening. (Contributed photo)

“Everybody’s OK, that’s what’s most important,” Harris told the neighbor. “We can get all the material stuff back.

“I’m just glad we weren’t sleeping. Who knows if anybody would have got out if we’d been asleep,” Harris added.

The fire took out the upper level of the residence, where the bedrooms were located.

“Everything’s gone,” Harris, a lifelong Santa Maria resident, said as a relative described the children as “devastated.”

Clothing and toys, including those received for Christmas and more, were destroyed due to fire, smoke or water damage.

Asked what they need, he said, “Whatever we can get, we will take.”

As word of the fire spread, family and friends rallied to get donations for the family, using social media to spread the message about specific sizes sought.

Coworkers also are offering aid.

“I’ve got everyone in the oil fields pulling for me,” said Harris, who works for Ace Pump.

He described the support surrounding the family as “overwhelming.” 

His wife works as a night stocker at Vons. The children attend Tunnell Elementary School and Pioneer Valley High School.

Friend Dean Johnson showed up Monday to support Harris as he handled assorted details.

“They’ve got a great backing,” Johnson said, calling the family's loss heart-breaking. 

Harris grew up in the neighborhood and rented the house, which he said Monday likely would need to be gutted and rebuilt inside. 

The family had renter’s insurance, with State Farm agent Tami Rabska showing up at the scene Sunday night to start the claims process and help find them a new place to live — one that accepts dogs. 

American Red Cross representatives also stopped by to offer assistance on Monday.

He said he appreciates the support the family has received. 

“Just thank you,” he said, tears filling his eyes. “We’ve got a lot of people pulling for us.”

A GoFundMe page to help the family can be found here.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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