By Mike Henle

People’s lives can change in an instant, as we learned one day about 20 years ago. We had just left for work when we received a call from a neighbor telling us that our custom 4,000 square foot, two story home was burning in southwest Las Vegas. We were at work and immediately got in the car and headed for home where fire trucks were at the scene.

The smoke could be seen from all parts of the valley. Knowing that it’s your home on fire makes the drive even worse.

To say it was chaotic was an understatement.

We immediately notified our family members. John was working for Farmers insurance in Southern California, Joe was with the Nevada Air National Guard in Reno and Jeff was in school at Sierra Vista high school.

It’s interesting what goes through a person’s mind during something as frightening as a fire. Are the pets ok, what’s left, are family heirlooms still there?

My first thought was making sure everyone was OK. The second thought was what’s left and where are we going to stay?  We were blessed with an Allstate agent who found a fully-furnished rental home in southwest Las Vegas, with a one year lease, available that day. We signed the lease that night.

We will never forget that day, especially when a little boy walked up to us telling us that he had a jar of money.

We had never met the boy in the years we lived there and he was with his mom. We do know he lived in the surrounding area.

“I don’t know how much money is in it, but I want you to have it.” Out of the mouth of babes as the saying goes.

The most valuable lesson was knowing that we had a great insurance agent that insisted we get a homeowners policy that would cover anything that could happen since this was a custom home on a half acre lot. 

Thanks to many people, we survived our challenge, but it wasn’t an easy task. The fire department had used all the water in the two wells and borrowed water trucks from a construction site at Nevada Trails. Friends and neighbors pitched in and started taking out what they could after the fire was out. We were in a state of shock and had no idea where to start.

We sold the house “as is” since it was too much to deal with at the time. An investor bought the burned-up house and flipped it. It sold several more times after that.

Best part of the story is we were all safe and the fire investigators could never pinpoint the cause of the fire. 

Our pets were fine, pictures saved, no one hurt and we could move on.

We found another home that we’ve been in for 20 years and we’re all thankful for everyone that helped us. 

Where we live now is even better, single story, small yard, cul de sac and the best neighbors in the world!

That’s another story….