Santa Clarita Family Whose Home Burned Begins To Rebuild -- May 28, 2015

A Santa Clarita Valley family whose home was destroyed in a fire Friday afternoon in Canyon Country is thanking the firefighters and community for their support, but are still in need of a helping hand.

“On my behalf, I just want to show so much appreciation for my neighbors and I am so gracious for the fireman to call Red Cross who gave us temporary housing,” said Tim Latham, who lived in the home on Ranier Street with his wife, two children and dogs. “We lost almost everything because of the fire, water, foam and the toxic smoke.”

The fire, which the family thinks was caused by a light and faulty electrical wiring, began in the garage and continued through much of the home, said Kimberly Kite Gamboa, Latham’s stepdaughter.

“Everything, the framework, the drywall has to come down,” she said. “The bulk of our memories and irreplaceable stuff would have been in the garage.”

Gamboa, whose family totals 11 and lives around the Santa Clarita Valley, has two siblings who lived in the home — one who is finishing up his college degree and the other who attends Canyon High School.

“My parents, Tim and Geri, were home with the dogs. The kids were all at a Dodger’s game with my nephew,” Gamboa said. “We’re really fortunate that my parents were safe. They’re staying between a family friend’s house in Palmdale and a hotel. They lost everything. We lost all of our family heirlooms.”

Gamboa has created a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for her family. The goal is to raise $15,000 and more than $2,000 has already been raised as of Thursday.

“As much as we would like to take clothing donations, we don’t have anywhere for them right now,” Gamboa said. “We’re asking for financial donations and anyone who knows of services that cleanup after fires.”

The Latham family was renting the home and do not have renter’s insurance, Latham said, which left them stranded.

In the mean time, Latham and his family have been aided by the officials with the American Red Cross and neighbors. Latham hopes to receive some aid from CalWorks as well.

“All of my neighbors were so supportive,” Latham said. “Everybody on my block is so incredibly cool. I love everybody over there and I want to show appreciation for them, rather than ask for anything.”

While fire inspectors are still surveying the home, the homeowner’s insurance company has given the OK to begin cleaning the home.

“When a family that doesn’t have much gets everything taken away,” Gamboa said, “it’s really devastating.”