‘Everything is gone:’ Community helps Richmond Hill family after fire destroys their home

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:33 PM EST
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RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - A Richmond Hill family is without a home after a Saturday morning house fire.

The city’s fire department says the blaze left most of the family’s belongings a total loss.

Walking through Dwight Verdecanna’s home it’s hard to find anything left untouched by smoke and water damage.

Verdecanna, along with his wife and daughter, were in Florida when they received a call no homeowner wants to hear.

“Around 10 a.m. , I got a call from my wife stating that the person that was watching the home said the house was on fire,” said homeowner Dwight Verdecanna.

The Richmond Hill Fire Department put out the blaze that sent two people to the hospital including a firefighter.

The family says they were worried about their pets inside the home.

“We had two dogs in there and my daughter’s gecko,” said Verdecanna.

Their pets made it out ok but that wasn’t the case for many of the family’s belongings.

From his daughter’s toys, to the car he started building the day she was born, Verdecanna says almost everything is destroyed.

“There’s a lot of meaning behind the car and we took a big loss there,” said Verdcanna.

The department’s operation chief says investigators were back on scene Monday.

“As of this morning, he has closed the investigation. It was found undetermined, but in the garage area,” said RHFD Operations Chief Michelle Meacham.

Soon after the fire, the department put out a call looking for donations, and the community responded in droves.

“They dropped off clothes for two days in a row for my daughter, my wife and I. They bought us, purchased us meals, gift cards,” said Verdecanna.

Verdecanna says he was overwhelmed by his neighbor’s generosity since his family has only lived here for 6 months.

“They’ve done everything that we could just have never imagined someone would do for us and it’s strangers we don’t even know,” said Verdecanna.

“We do not have a bunch of fires in Richmond Hill often. We just try to extend that help out to families the best that we can,” said Meacham.

The family says the donations offer a glimmer of hope during a time of uncertainty.

“We don’t really know what we’re going to expect in the next 6 months to a year. The house is very damaged and we’re probably going to be without a home for quite a while,” said Verdecanna.

The fire department says the two people hospitalized have since been released.

Verdecanna says he’s thankful for the donations as his family now figures out their next steps.