ROY — As families rally around the Roy family that lost their home in a devastating fire, their neighbors from across the street offered the displaced family something unique: their home.
Melony Levey came home Wednesday night and parked her car in the garage. When she went and inside and started to smell smoke, she went back to the garage and saw fire coming from underneath her car. Within minutes the fire had consumed 60-70 percent of the home and it was too advanced to save by the time firefighters reached the scene.
Levey's neighbor, John Stoddard, witnessed the house go up in flames from his window.
"I was just sitting at home when it caught on fire. The truck exploded," Stoddard said. "Gas cans in the garage and everything started going up. It was sad to watch."
Stoddard and his wife, Sabrina, had already been thinking about moving out of their home, so when the Leveys became homeless they offered to move out and let the Leveys move in. On Sunday, the Stoddards will move into the cab of their semi-truck and pick up life on the road. Prior to the fire, the Stoddards and Leveys were barely acquaintances.
"They need a house more than we do," Stoddard said. "We have one, it's got 18 wheels, but that's where we spend most of our time anyway."
The Stoddards have been renting the Roy home and will turn the lease over to the Leveys. They said they might come back once the Leveys are on their feet again, but they are taking what they call an extended vacation.
They need a house more than we do. We have one, it's got 18 wheels, but that's where we spend most of our time anyway.
"We worked so hard for what we had," Sabrina Stoddard said. "But we can always start over again."
The home destroyed in the fire is the same model as the Stoddards', so the living space will be familiar for the Leveys. But perhaps more importantly, the Leveys will be able to watch their home be rebuilt.
"(It's) very familiar, and that's important in a situation like this, when your life is turned upside down," said Mike Levey, Melony Levey's husband.
Though the family lost virtually everything, John Stoddard said the tragedy might be more like serendipity.
"All their memories are there, and they're going to stare at it every day," he said. "It happened for a reason, so they can have a place to live. To me, I think they'll still be home."
The Leveys are grateful for what the Stoddards have done, but they also wanted to thank their neighbors, community and church for helping them out in their time of need.