Things we lost in the fire

Twin Falls family displaced by apartment fire reflects on the damage
Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 1:17 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Six families, a total 25 people, are displaced due to an apartment building fire a few days ago in Twin Falls. The American Red Cross and the local Twin Falls community are doing what they can to help the families in their time of need.

On a scorching Tuesday afternoon, after hanging out with one of their friends for his birthday, Timothy Maloy and his brother returned home to their apartment at Twin Falls Gardens to cool off, just to find out the heat inside their apartment was even worse.

“He (brother) told me the house was on fire. The first thing I did was run over there and call my mom,” said Maloy.

His mother, Sonya Barnhill, said she was on a lunch break from work when her son called, “screaming hysterically that the apartment is on fire”.

Maloy said he remembers being in “tears” and “shocked” at the site of everything he owned being burned. He said his brother and an upstairs neighbor immediately called 9-1-1.

Around 1 pm the fire, which appeared to start in their apartment, began to intensify and spread to all six apartments around them. Maloy said he is thankful that no one was home in his apartment when the fire started.

“If they were in that house I would have ran in after them and saved them with everything I got, because that is my family and I love them,” said Maloy.

But the sixteen -year old said he and his brother did help one next door neighbor get out of her apartment safely.

The Barnhill family said they lived in their apartment at Twin Falls Gardens Apartments for about three years, and they family said the damage the fire did to the inside of their apartment is beyond belief.

“It is non-livable. You cannot live in it. It is bad. . . Everything in the living room is gone. Everything in the kitchen is gone. The three bedrooms are all smoke damaged, really not a lot left in there,” said Barnhill.

Damage inside Barnhill home
Damage inside Barnhill home(sk)

The mother of seven also said that two years ago she was in a hurricane in Florida that damaged her home, now she comes back to Idaho and loses everything in a fire. She said this is “much worse”.

However, a spokesman with the American Red Cross said they are assisting the families displaced by the fire with their immediate needs: food, clothing, lodging, prescriptions. Barnhill said she and the other displaced families have also been getting assistance from local community members. In fact one of her friends, Debbie Tucker, started a gofundme page for her family.

“A lot of people have reached out to me that I don’t even know. Red Cross has helped us with a little bit of stuff. They helped me get my kids some new clothes. . . they don’t have any clothes,” said Barnhill.

However, the mother said there are somethings her family will never be able to be replaced.

“Pictures, stuff like that. Things my kids made for me,” said Barnhill.

The cause of the fire is still undetermined, and the Housing Company which oversees Twin Falls Gardens Apartments and other properties in Idaho said they are working with the displaced families in finding housing with upcoming vacancies at Twin Falls Gardens or Carriage Lane Apartments which is also located in Twin Falls. An official with the Housing Company said they are still assessing the damage, but they are hopeful that two of the six apartments damaged by the fire will be able to be moved back into.

Copyright 2020 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.

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