Montz family loses everything in fire

Firefighters seek donations for mother, 4 young children

Donated toys and clothes are pouring in for a Montz family whose home was destroyed in a fire on Saturday.

Chris Lear, a firefighter with the Norco Volunteer Fire Department, said it appears a faulty heater started the fire. The family heard a popping sound coming from the unit and were actually inside their Hollywood Park Drive home when the blaze began.

Luckily, the mother and her four children, who were all under the age of 13, were able to escape injury.

“Their home is completely gone,” Lear said. “These people lost everything in less than 30 minutes.”

After the fire, Lear was clearing out the home when he stumbled upon a garbage bag that he first thought was filled with trash.

“It looked like trash, but when I pulled the bag open presents came out,” Lear said. “Some were wrapped and some weren’t, but it was obvious they were Christmas presents.

“Of course you feel bad for anyone who loses their home, but when I saw the presents it made me take a step back and realize how quickly life can change.”

Lear and other Norco firefighters discussed getting items together for the family, but Lear also wrote a Facebook post seeking donations. That post was shared nearly 100 times and several people offered to give toys and clothes to the family.

“I just put it out there and I was pretty shocked with the support,” Lear said. “We have already received a lot of stuff. It’s coming in pretty quick.”

Lear is collecting donations at his home and said that residents can bring toys, clothes and home furnishings to any fire department in the parish.

The family is currently staying in a hotel room paid for by the American Red Cross.

Items will be delivered to the family by “Santa Claus” on Christmas Eve, but donations will still be collected, and delivered, after Christmas.

For more information on specific clothing sizes sought for the family, contact the Norco Volunteer Fire Department at (985) 764-9621.

Toys can be brought to any parish fire department.

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