A couple has been displaced and their house declared a total loss after a fire on New Year’s Eve.
Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said firefighters responded to the home at 5325 Keithwood Drive at about 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31 and cleared it about three hours later.
According to Facebook posts from occupants Ricky Biancardi and Rachel Ware, the fire started after a candle caught a gingerbread house Ware had made on fire and the fire spread across the house.
“I was in the basement with headphones in and as a song ended, I heard beeping and realized the fire alarms were going off upstairs,” Ware said. “By the time I got to the top of the stairs, the entire middle floor was filled with smoke and I saw the burning gingerbread house. I tried my best to fight the fire and grabbed blankets and anything I could find to try and smother it and burned my hands in the process.”
Ware, who was alone in the house while Biancardi was working, said she received first- and second-degree burns on her hands and fingers and was “very lucky it is not worse than it is.” She was transported to Grady Health System’s burn center after the fire and released later that day.
While Ware was able to make it out of the home, the couple’s cat, Gnocchi, was not able to.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get him out, and his loss is the most devastating of all,” Ware said.
Biancardi said by the time he and some friends made it to the house, the fire department was already on the scene and thanked firefighters, members of the community and their friends and family for their support since.
“Our neighbors selflessly took the initiative to contact the Red Cross, bring us multiple totes of food, clothing, and cash donations,” he said. “Thank you to everyone who has contributed towards the GoFundMe fundraiser. It was instantly a shock and more than we could ever asked for. Thank you to both of our friends and families who have extended invitations into their homes and provided us with clothing.”
Biancardi said they “may have lost 99%” of their possessions, and Ware said while they are heartbroken over the losses “we are just so glad that we have each other.”
“We have a pretty good attitude moving forward and we do believe that this will be the best thing that’s ever happened to us because there is no other way that it can be,” she said. “I have been blessed with a reminder of what truly matters most and the amount of sweet messages and calls and just everything. It’s a wealth of love and I’ve never felt richer. Seriously. thank you everyone.”
Fundraisers have been set up at https://www.facebook.com/donate/2748724615391720/, https://www.gofundme.com/f/ricky-and-rachel-home and https://www.gofundme.com/f/rachel-rickys-emergency-fund.
The couple has also said they are looking for large shirts, size 31-32 pants and 11.5 or 12 shoes for Biancardi and small shirts, 2-4 pants and 7.5 or 8 shoes for Ware.
“Again, I don’t know how to thank everyone enough. The only thing that makes this feel like a dream instead of a nightmare is all the love we’re receiving. As heartbreaking as this all is there are people who had to face bigger oppositions than us in 2020. My thoughts go out to them in what developed into an insane year.
“I feel so blessed going into the New Year with this much support from everyone. I wouldn’t trade any amount of materialistic objects for the friendships that I have.”
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