La Plata family recovers after house fire

GoFundMe page set up to help family after Monday morning blaze

Hannah Grover
Firefighters examine fire damage to a house off La Plata Highway north of Farmington on Monday.

FARMINGTON — Community members are raising money for a La Plata family that lost its home during a fire Monday morning.

The house at 734A N.M. Highway 170 caught fire early Monday. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 7:30 a.m. and fought the blaze until after 10 a.m.

The home belongs to Matt Palulis and Tori Myers. The couple and their son were not home at the time of the fire.

"Everybody was either at school or work," Palulis said in an interview today.

To help the family recover, a friend set up a GoFundMe page. As of this afternoon, more than $1,300 has been donated toward the goal of $5,000. 

Palulis said his mother-in-law lives across the street from the family and called the couple when there was smoke coming out of the house on Monday. Smoke from the fire was visible for about one mile in either direction along the La Plata Highway, and traffic was shut down as crews worked on the blaze.

The fire also caused several propane tanks and batteries inside the house to explode.

San Juan County Fire Capt. David Yow said this morning that the cause of the fire was still under investigation.

Firefighters put out a fire on Monday at a home off the La Plata Highway north of Farmington.

Although no people were inside the house during the fire, Palulis said the family's four cats, two ferrets and several quail were inside.

"We found one cat last night, so I'm guessing he found a way out," he said.

Finding the cat gave the family hope that the other cats may have escaped as well, so they returned to the house today to search for them.

Palulis said some things in the house can be recovered, but many are a total loss. Among them is a 1300-watt solar system and an electric motorcycle, as well as items from Comic-Con events.

At the moment, Palulis said, the family does not need items like clothes or furniture. A gift card from the Red Cross enabled the family to purchase clothes.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.