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Cathedral City fire victims rebuild life together in a new home

Fire Family


Rosario Gonzalez says it was her oven that sparked the fire on Oct. 6, in her now charred and vacant home on Pueblo Trail.

"The fire in the kitchen, in the oven, everything," she said.

Firefighters say everything inside her family's Cathedral City home of three months was destroyed.

"I thought, 'Where are we going to live?' I was actually sad at school because I miss my house," said Gonzalez's 10-year-old son Edgar Ponce.

The fire comes shortly after the family lost its previous house in July in a short sale.

Maggie Wilhelm, the family's real estate agent for several years, said, "The kids, they look at you like where are my toys, my room, my house? How do you answer that?" said

The answer, Wilhelm says was simple. Help Rosario, her three kids and their dad Juan Ponce start over in a different Cathedral City duplex.

After weeks of bouncing from place to place, finally, Wednesday was move in day.

"Now they move into this place, but it's empty. We need to fill it out," said sister-in-law Perla Ponce.

Wilhelm, relatives and now the community are collecting the basics, everything from furniture, to clothes and shoes for the family to fit in to and toys for Kevin, 3, Edgar, 10, and Samantha, 6, to play with.

"It's really sad. We try to help but it's not easy. Any help is good," said Perla.

As they begin settling in what's been donated so far, the family is slowly gaining some relief.

"It felt so good because you could see in their demeanor that this was home. They felt really connected again," said Wilhelm.

It's a new home the kids say they're excited to explore.

"I kind of like it. I could watch TV and go to my cousin's house. It could be fun," said Edgar.

The Salvation Army delivered clothes to the Ponces on Tuesday and is expected to donate some furniture over the weekend.

The Cathedral City Rotary Club is stepping in to help and the Rock Church plans to donate food to the family this weekend.

If you'd like to help, donate to the "Ponce Disaster Fund," which is open with Wells Fargo.

To donate toys, clothes, shoes, furniture, home appliances or food, contact Rosario Gonzalez at 760-902-4307.



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