THOMASVILLE — Two hours into her Sunday night shift at Wesley Long Hospital in Greensboro, Amanda Rhoney received the most terrifying phone call of her life.
“The house is on fire!” Rhoney’s 10-year-old daughter, Gentry, screamed into the phone. “And he’s trapped!”
Rhoney, who lives in Thomasville, thought Gentry was talking about her husband, Michael, who has epilepsy. Images of her husband trapped in the family’s mobile home, surrounded by flames, raced through her mind.
“I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but my daughter was screaming, and I thought she was talking about my husband being trapped,” Rhoney said. “I tried to get her to calm down.”
As it turns out, it wasn’t Michael who was trapped in the trailer, but Kovu, the family’s Siberian husky. Firefighters had to rescue the dog from the fire and give him oxygen, but he’s fine now. The rest of the family — Michael, Gentry, 6-year-old son Mychal and another dog, Marley — are also safe.
The home, however, was ruined.
“Everything is going to be a total loss because of the smoke and water damage,” said Rhoney, who raced to her home on Albertson Road after receiving Gentry’s call. “The fire only breached the living room, but the smoke destroyed everything else.”
According to Rhoney, the fire started shortly after 8 p.m., apparently triggered when a spark flew from the family’s grill and caught the propane tank on fire.
“I’m just glad everybody was OK,” she said. “That was a long drive home from Greensboro to Thomasville.”
The Rhoneys, who had lived in the mobile home for about five years, are currently staying at a local hotel. They have a possibility of moving into a house at the beginning of February, but it’s in High Point, and they’re hoping to find another living arrangement that will allow them to stay in the Hasty school district, Rhoney said.
Otherwise, the family has many needs, from clothing and household items to school supplies and gift cards for going out to eat, because their hotel room has only a microwave for cooking, Rhoney said. The family did not have renter’s insurance, she added.
“The only thing they have are the clothes on their backs,” said Joy Ingram, who works with Rhoney in the emergency department at Wesley Long Hospital. “They need just about everything.”
Ingram, of High Point, established a GoFundMe page for individuals wanting to help the Rhoney family. She initially created the page so colleagues at the hospital would have a place to donate to the family, but then individuals from the community began contributing, too, and asking how else they could help.
“It just kind of exploded in a fantastic way,” Ingram said. “The response has been phenomenal.”
As of late Tuesday afternoon, the GoFundMe page had raised approximately $7,800, easily surpassing the initial $5,000 goal. Meanwhile, other individuals have donated clothing and household items, and several local businesses have offered to sponsor fundraising events for the family, according to Ingram.
Rhoney said the community’s outpouring of support has been overwhelming.
“I can’t wrap my head around how well (the GoFundMe page) has done,” she said. “Never in a million years did I think we would get that kind of support, and we’re just very, very grateful to the community.”