GoFundMe campaign begins for Stateline fire victim
On Monday, April 23, Henry Porter received a text from his landlord stating that his mobile home at Ponderosa Trailer Park on Kingsbury Grade was on fire.
“Next thing you know, the whole neighborhood is trying to contact me to make sure I’m not in the house,” said Porter, who attends Western Nevada College (WNC) in Carson City and was in class when flames engulfed his home at approximately 8:50 a.m.
Upon receiving the messages, Porter began his two-hour bus ride back to Tahoe, asking people on-site at the mobile home park whether his 11-year-old dog, Molly, made it out alive.
“She was in the backyard; I let her out every morning before I go to school,” he said.
According to Porter, his neighbors knocked a hole in his fence and rescued the dog. The blaze ended up destroying his residence and possessions, but no one was harmed in the fire and the cause is still under investigation.
Now nearly three weeks after the incident, Porter — who says he does not have renter’s insurance and is on disability through HUD — is staying at a hotel in Gardnerville thanks to Douglas County Social Services, whose help has been vital to Porter: He said without it, he’d be homeless with his dog. He has lived in Douglas County for the past decade.
Porter said the fire report will be completed in a couple weeks, but in the meantime his “whole livelihood is up in the air,” as he looks for a dog-friendly home in Nevada.
“I don’t know how it’s going to play out, but I’m keeping a positive attitude and not getting caught up in the past. Most of the things I care about and accumulated in the past 20 years is just stuff, even though it’s stuff I care about. I can’t dwell on that; I have to move forward,” Porter said.
Adult literacy and language staff at WNC recently set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for Porter as he looks to replace vital lost possessions.
“I’ve been going to school four days a week for almost a year and [staff sees] what I’m trying to do, and [the fire] happens out of the blue. I have to get up early in the morning to get [to school]. It’s a two-hour commute to get from Tahoe to WNC every day. I’m up at 4 a.m., out the door at 5:30 a.m., and don’t get to school until 8 a.m. It’s the same thing on the way back. I’m on the road longer than I’m in class,” said Porter.
“[Staff sees] my effort and motivation and they’re the ones that are spearheading this project as far as getting cash to get back on my feet.”
As of publication deadline, the campaign had raised $900 of a $3000 goal in 10 days.
“Now that I’m downsizing and thinking about getting an apartment and such, I’m rethinking things I need. I’ll definitely utilize the money to get basics, like a bed and things I need to survive,” Porter said, adding that he’s “good on clothes and material things,” and will use donated money to get “staple items” like furniture.
“It’s been a learning experience. I had a lot of stuff, and this is that chance for me to reflect on what’s important to me,” he said.
Donate to the GoFundMe campaign — Henry Porter Fire Recovery Fund — at http://www.gofundme.com/henry-porter-fire-recovery-fund.