Community helps Gilmore family rebuild hope


Adam Gilmore

This is what remains of the Gilmore family’s house after the Poinsettia fire ravaged their home and the community. However, the Gilmores have not lost hope and have plans to start rebuilding next year.

Bryanna Mundy, Editor-in-chief

Senior Adam Gilmore sat in his film class on a typical Wednesday afternoon laughing and hanging out with friends. Suddenly, another student ran in distressed about a wildfire near her house. As his teacher turned on the news, Adam saw that a wildfire had broken out on El Camino and Poinsettia lane and was 0% contained. At first, Adam didn’t think much of it, but then he remembered that the fellow student was his neighbor and the fire must be fast approaching his own house.

While most Carlsbad residents were allowed to return home following the evacuation May 14 when the wild fire broke out, Adam came home to only a charred aftermath left by the Poinsettia wildfire.  In the weeks following this disaster, Adam has gone through more than most students could imagine.

“I do remember that we were so close to the smoke that it was covering the sun, and everything had this massive yellow tint to it which was a little scary,” Adam said. “I told everyone to meet in the Costco parking lot and there we could figure out what we needed to do. The only things we were able to grab were a couple of photo albums and our two dogs. They met me in the Costco parking lot and there we found out that our house had been destroyed.”

Adam’s brother and father were home at the time and received a reverse 911 call to evacuate shortly after the fire broke out. Within a few minutes, the police were knocking on their front door telling the Gilmore family they had to leave immediately. With nothing left of the house, the Gilmores’ are coping with their horrific loss together, strengthening their family dynamic.

“My family has always been strong,” Adam said. “This isn’t the first tragedy, but it is the biggest one. To see my family working so strongly together proves how strong our family was and still is. I hope it serves as a little bit of an inspiration to other families that my family is so strong.”

Along with the support from each other, the Gilmore family has received tremendous support from the community in the aftermath. Adam is highly involved in his Advanced Theater class, and has a close-knit group of friends who have been especially supportive.

“The theater class has always been a family and so throughout the year, we are always supporting each other,” senior Jessica Streich said. “For something as devastating as this, we definitely all came together and told him if he ever needed anything, wanted to get away or talk to someone, we’re always there. Since then, we’ve just been there for him.”

Both friends and family have admired Adam’s strength through the situation and his ability to return to daily life at school.

“We were already pretty close; we’ve been best friends since seventh grade,” senior Jake McCullough said. “Adam is handling it like a champ. It’s surprising how he has handled it; he’s just been the most positive person about it. There are times you can tell that it’s hard for him, but for his house burning down, he’s doing pretty good.”

In times of distress, moral character is tested not just for those close to the disaster but the community as well. The past weeks have given Adam a unique perspective that usually takes years for most people to gain.

“With a situation like mine, you see the best and worst of people,” Adam said. “The worst of people are the people that loot the house, and then on the opposite spectrum, we have the best of people that have been donating and helping. We’ve received a lot of support from everybody. It’s just been spectacular.”

The Gilmore family has been staying in a hotel since the house burned, but will soon be moving into a rental home for a year. Adam and his family have been digging through the rubble periodically to recover anything that may have survived the fire. While scrummaging for salvageable sentimental items, the family made a unanimous decision.

Over the next year, they will rebuild their home. While rebuilding, the family will live in a rental and Adam will continue on to attend his freshman year of college at San Diego State University.

Until then, Adam continues to remain optimistic knowing he is supported by his family and many others who have reached out from the community.

“I’m definitely one of those people that looks on the positive side, and there’s not a lot of positives in this situation,” Adam said. “What keeps me going is that I’m not dreading on the past– I’m looking toward the future.”