Neighbors Rally to Help Phoenix Family Rebuild After Fire

Friends and neighbors of a Phoenix family whose home burned down last week are rallying to raise money to feed and clothe them.

Alex Maples, his girlfriend, and their three children, ages 3, 4, and 9, have been staying with his twin sister and her family since they narrowly escaped their flaming double-wide trailer thanks to a working smoking alarm, his mother, Therese Rothberg, 56, tells New Times. Nursing burns, Maples hasn’t yet been able to return to his job unloading trucks at Walmart.

The family, which was already living paycheck to paycheck, doesn’t have health insurance, Rothberg said.

They combed through the wreckage after the Phoenix Fire Department squelched the fire but were only able to recover a few items of clothing.

“Everything else is a total loss,” Rothberg said. “Half the roof is gone. I don’t think it can be saved.” 

Rothberg, who also works at Walmart, had just purchased the home for her son in April. She outfitted the place with $6,000 worth of furniture purchased on credit. They had not yet made a payment.

“It was supposed to be a new beginning for him,” Rothberg said. Maples, a military-trained mechanic, had struggled with unemployment for months before finding the job with Walmart in August.

Neighbors collected diapers and canned goods for the family and Walmart donated toothpaste, towels, shoes, and pillows.

"We're just trying to take things one day at a time, figuring out what we need next," Rothberg said. "This morning we woke up and realized nobody had socks."

To help raise money for medical bills, lost wages, and rebuilding, Alex’s sister set up a campaign. Over the weekend, they raised $860.

“Obviously, it's been emotional," Rothberg said. “But the important thing is that everybody is alive and relatively unscathed.” 

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Elizabeth Stuart
Contact: Elizabeth Stuart