By Carlos Padilla
Wind gusts in excess of 50 miles per hour fanned flames that swept through a mobile home on South Mercury Street in Truth or Consequences Thursday afternoon, April 26, and fully engulfed the structure.
Within a matter of minutes, everything was gone.
Homeowner John Curtis told The Herald that while he was at work, his wife, Jillian, picked the couple’s children up from school and brought them home. Jillian left 12-year-old Mackenzie and 10-year-old Kendell at home for a few minutes, John says, to run to her mom’s house and buy gas with their five-month-old son.
In those few moments, flames overtook the home.
With firefighters preparing to battle the blaze and law enforcement clearing a nearby mobile home that was threatened by the wind-driven flames, Jillian ran up, screaming for her children.
“Jillian thought she smelled someone burning weeds a couple of hours earlier,” John told The Herald. “My 12-year-old daughter, Mackenzie saved her sister’s life.”
Mackenzie reportedly saw the flames come up through the floor, grabbed her sister and forced her out of the house. The two young girls immediately ran to a neighbor’s house across the street.
“We have lost everything,” John said, “but that’s okay. My family is okay, and that’s what matters. We are grateful to be alive.”
The American Red Cross has been contacted to assist the family.
Sierra County Emergency Management Office Director Donna Sanchez told The Herald that the Red Cross will be assisting the Curtis family.
The Curtis family is in desperate need of bedding, clothing, toiletries and other household items for their six-month-old son who has respiratory complications from birth and needs a nebulizer, as well as items for their two daughters, who wear sizes ranging from size 8 to 14, small to medium in girls clothes. The mother wears medium and large clothing sizes, and the father wears pants with a 34-inch waist and extra large shirts.
Donations will be accepted at 723 Caballo Road, in Truth or Consequences.
Information will be updated here, as it becomes available.