Goncalves Family House Fire Fund

My name is Matthew Goncalves.  My parents, Jerry and Jeanene Goncalves, as well as myself both live in the Syracuse, NY area.

My parents, Jerry and Jeanene Goncalves, recently lost nearly everything in their house due to a fire that was the result of a gas explosion.  This tragic event happened Tuesday afternoon October 24th, 2017. 

Jerry, my Dad, has been a “do-it-yourselfer” all his life.  So, when their hot water heater stopped working, it was nothing for my Dad to head down to the basement and see what was wrong.  He noticed the pilot light on the hot water heater had gone out and that’s when everything took a turn for the worse.  Unbeknownst to my Dad, the gas had built up in the basement; when he went to light the pilot light on the hot water heater, an explosion happened and a fire arose.  Obviously, my Dad was more than a little disoriented after the explosion.  Luckily, he had the wherewithal to get himself out of the basement and ask a neighbor to call 911.  But he wasn’t out of the woods yet.


He suffered first and second degree burns to his face, but that’s not the worst of it.  From the heat he was exposed to and breathed in, he started to swell both internally and externally.  The doctors knew that the internal swelling would cause his airway to shut and he would lose his ability to breathe.  To save his life, they induced a medical coma and intubated him so that he would be able to breathe through the tube going down his throat and therefore not die.  He currently is still in this state and it is expect that he will remain like this for at least the next two days.

At this moment we are unaware of the affect the concussive pressure or the chemical fumes that were released in the explosion/fire will have on my Dad, but we remain hopeful that he will have a full recovery.

The house is a total wreck.  All the basement windows were blown out or broken by the firefighters.  The backdoor is gone and the back of the house is severely damaged as that was where the fire was located.  The entire house and household belongings are smoke damaged.  We are hoping to salvage as much as possible, but are realistic that this is going to be an uphill battle and many many items will need to be replaced.


Initial estimates for the time to complete repairs are greater than six months and we are being told that it is going to be a complete “gut job”.

Jerry and Jeanene are both in their mid-seventies and live on a fixed income made up of my Dad’s pension from New York State and social security.

Any help is greatly appreciated, thank you very much.

We want to thank all of the first responders; the firefighters, the paramedics, the police officers, as  well as the doctors at the hospital, for all of the excellent help they provided.  Without the aid of all these selfless people my father would certainly be dead and the house would have been totally destroyed.  My family’s deepest thanks and most sincere gratitude to all of you.

To make this as easy as possible for my parents; I plan to withdraw the fund as my parents need them and will hand deliver to my parents a check from me in the amount of the withdrawal.

Funds raised by this campaign will be used for the necessities such food, cloths, shelter and other costs incurred as they will have to find someplace to live and begin rebuilding their life.

Again thank you very much for being so generous.


  • David Coulon 
    • $20 
    • 47 mos
  • Justin Keskin 
    • $35 
    • 47 mos
  • Andrew Thompson 
    • $25 
    • 47 mos
  • Lee Gilliland 
    • $20 
    • 47 mos
  • James Galbraith  
    • $20 
    • 47 mos
See all


Matthew Goncalves 
Syracuse, NY
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more