Friends, neighbors help West View family recover from fire
The fire that destroyed Shelly and Chris Lightsey's West View home on Jan. 20 moved quickly.
“The devastation is just more than you fathom. The kids are coping with it pretty well. Each day you cry a little less,” said Lightsey, who has spent much of the past 10 days shopping and talking with insurance adjusters.
If the fire spread fast, efforts to help her have been almost as quick — starting with Marianne Uechi, a friend who plans to put the Lightsey family, including four school-age children, up in her four-bedroom home.
“She had no coat, no shoes, no car keys, no phone. You just have to go through and itemize everything that you no longer have,” Uechi said.
Already home to five people, the Uechi family's West View house will add about a half-dozen more until Lightsey buys a new house, which she said could take as long as four months.
“The boys will share rooms. We can make this work,” Uechi said.
The fire started at 11 p.m. Lightsey, who was awake, had almost no time to get out of the house. No cause has been determined.
Since then, Lightsey has been overwhelmed with sorting out the details of what comes next.
Students at North Hills Junior High School, where Lightsey's eldest daughter, Sierra, is an eighth-grader, are conducting a raffle to raise money for the family.
“We were approached by a number of students, and they wanted a fundraiser instead of just taking donations,” said Franz Ratnavale, a counselor and student council adviser at the school.
Classmates expressed concern for Sierra.
“I live near her. We were driving home that night. There was a ton of smoke in the air. I felt really bad. But she came back to school right away. I was really proud of her,” said Megan Hitchan, 14, of Ross.
Two Penguins tickets and a Penguins jersey will be raffled.
“I'm hoping it will go well. It's a real tragic thing, this fire,” said Quinten Harkness, 13, of West View.
Teachers from West View Elementary School dropped off clothes for Lightsey and her children. Others donated furniture sets that people will store until they can be used.
“The fire is very sad. It's good the people are helping out so much,” said Maddie Evans, 14, of Ross, an eighth-grader at North Hills.
The elementary school's PTA donated one week of meals for the Lightsey and Uechi families, as did Hal's Bar & Grill of Ross.
“The community has been fantastic. The outpouring was great,” Lightsey said.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Job growth in Upper St. Clair area prompts need for housing
- North Allegheny teen eager to serve
- Businesses in McKees Rocks struggle amid $39M revamp of West Carson
- Paralympic club steps up its adaptive workouts for rowers
- High school dance marathons raise money to help children
- Mt. Lebanon awaits formal letter nixing extended deer season