Local candy shop helps family who lost their home in a fire

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RENO, NV (KOLO) - The Persons family lived in their Cold Springs home for 19 years. On Wednesday, August 7, 2019, they lost everything to the Mockingbird Fire, including years of memories and valuable items that will never be replaced.

“I was just scared. My house was on fire. It’s gone. How did it happen?" says Larry Persons.

He and his mother were at work when the fire broke out. They lost everything they owned, including two of their dogs. What they used to call home, is now one big pile of ashes.

"Over 40 years of family heirlooms and pictures. Lost my dad three years ago, so everything that he had, all his memorabilia and stuff is gone. I lost my wife a year ago and everything I had of hers," says Persons.

He and his mother work at Kimmie Candy and once owner Joseph Dutra found out they had lost their home, he created a GoFundMe page and is offering his candy for every donation received. Persons says the support of his boss and the community is what keeps him and his mother going.

"We are all family, because we are here all the time. Since day one Joe came up and introduced himself as Joe Dutra not the owner, and he is a friend and he has been very supportive with other issues that I have been through and everything."

Joe Dutra experienced a house fire in 1995, and he says waking up in a motel the next day and losing everything is a pain beyond relief. He says there are so many things we take for granted like food, clothing, and in Larry’s case his two dogs who died in the fire.

"We are trying to give back to him because he has always been somebody that is part of the community," says Dutra. "He helps as much as he can and so we have to make sure we help these individuals back and that we look at whatever we can do that helps them get on their feet, is something we as a community need to help with."

Persons says in a time of devastation the Reno community is always quick to offer help.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019