Melissa Jeane Mclaughlin is organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Amber Pitts.
On September 5, 2018 around 8AM, a note went across a Facebook fire watch group that a fire had started in a small section of Shingletown, CA. Within a half an hour, it had been narrowed down to the exact street - Thunder Mountain Lane. My sister, Amber Pitts, and her fiance, John Hartley, were at work when they found out. Before it had been updated to Thunder Mountain, they recognized the area as very close to their home and rushed back as quickly as they could. When they arrived, the Shasta County Fire Department was already hard at work extinguishing the flames. However, they weren't able to save the home.
Amber and John drove up their street, being the only home on it up a narrow dirt path, to see their house still on fire and in ruins. Inside, they had their dog, Lilith, that Amber had raised from an overly-energetic puppy into a sweet, cuddly old lady, and four cats: Mona and Lisa, twin Maine Coons dubbed "The Ladies" that John's mother had raised before passing from cancer three years ago; River, a young tom cat named for where he was found and rescued while John was fishing; and Arco, a young female cat no more than two years old that had decided to climb into their Jeep one day when they stopped for gas. None of their pets survived.
John's parents had worked on the home with their own two hands, and John had been raised there. His father worked for the Forestry Department and even helped train some of the brave firefighters that did everything they could to save the home and the animals inside. His mother's ashes were in the home when the fire started, and didn't make it through the blaze, either.
None of their clothes, books, personal items, or medications for Amber's Type 1 Diabetes were salvageable. The firefighters did everything they could to save things from the home, and we managed to sort through what was left over the course of hours. A few photos of John's parents, though water damaged and burnt at the edges, were saved; some of his mother's handmade quilts, doilies, and crochet blankets; a few of John's childhood toys; his father's jacket from his Forestry Department uniform; John's high school graduation robes; an antique dresser and trunk from his grandparents; a handful of paintings his grandmother painted; a few plants his mother planted; some of his mother's wind chimes.. Small mementos of his family that meant the world to him as we unearthed each one, or evaluated after the heat from the ashes cooled down enough that we could get closer.
While these salvaged tokens provided some comfort to Amber and John, they're faced with an entirely new, daunting challenge: they need somewhere to live. They need clothes, food, essentials, medicine. The Red Cross is helping with some, but can't keep them in a hotel until the home is completely rebuilt. They're helping cover costs for Amber's medicine at the moment, as well.
We're only asking for a small amount to help with rebuilding their lives. This will cover some new clothes as all they had left were their work uniforms, essentials like shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, property fees, and a chance to get a head start on rebuilding their home.
Further donations will be used to help relocate a trailer that was donated onto the property. PG&E is ready to move the power line and their propane company is ready to move and refill the tank. This will provide Amber and John with the chance to stay on the property, at their home, while they demolish the unstable structures left, and rebuild from the ground up.
Any and all donations (either through GoFundMe, contact with family, clothes, essentials, etc.) are greatly, greatly appreciated, and will help change the lives of a young couple in love that has been through so much for the better. Thank you so much, and have a blessed day.