DAYTON - A Douglas County fire captain and his family were left homeless Friday after an early-morning blaze destroyed their Dayton house.
"I've been doing this for almost 25 years. This is a total eye-opener being on the other end," said the homeowner, Capt. Nicholas Agorastos. "We deal with just the fire and we don't usually see this part. It's amazing."
Lyon County Fire Chief Mark Darragh said engines were called to the home of the East Fork Fire District captain about 12:13 a.m.
When crews arrived on scene six minutes later, flames were already shooting through the roof of the single-story house in the Riverpark subdivision, Darragh said.
Central Lyon County Firefighter Robert Kielty, who lives across the street, is credited with helping Agorastos' wife, Christy, and 6-year-old daughter, Hayleigh, escape after flames prevented them from leaving through the front door.
Agorastos was at work at the time. Two other daughters, Nakayla, 8, and Megan, 13, and son Nick Jr., 21, were away from home.
"The structure was a complete loss, including contents," Darragh said.
Little Hayleigh was distraught all day, her dad said. The sight of her new motorized Barbie car melted on the side of the house was too much for the soon-to-be kindergartner.
"Oh, my Barbie car's dead," she cried.
East Fork Fire Chief Tod Carlini said his department, as well as surrounding fire companies, are gathering cash and necessities while others work to arrange fund-raising efforts for their comrade.
"We are trying to get together some internal donations right now so we can get them started. They need pretty much all the basic essentials," he said. "I was out there this morning. It was sad."
The family has lived in the 2,000 square-foot home less than a year.
"They just had gotten new blinds they hadn't even put up yet. He just had his patio poured," Carlini said. "This was his first new home; he was quite proud of it. That's a benchmark in everyone's life."
The cause remains under investigation, said Martin Azevedo with the State Fire Marshal's Office. He said it does not appear to be intentionally set or due to a mechanical problem with the structure.
"Our organization is 100 percent behind (Nick) and supporting him. That's one thing about the fire service, we tend to rally around our own," Carlini said.
"This shows we are just like everyone else. We are not immune to any of that."
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the family may contact the East Fork Fire and Paramedic district at 782-9996.
Agorastos said the Red Cross has provided the family with a motel room for a few days. His insurance company is also working to get them into a rental home.
"We'll be out of the house for six months at least," he said. "We're going to try to rebuild in the same spot. We've got some great neighbors."
In light of the tragedy, he said he's grateful for the support the family has received thus far.
"I thinks it's wonderful. We have our brotherhood pulling together," he said.
n Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.