First their house burned down. Then they were told their kids couldn’t stay in the school district. Next came the embarrassment of the charred remains of their home appearing on the front page of the Mercury News in a contest for blight. If that weren’t enough, one of the few things that wasn’t damaged by the fire—toys and playhouses in the backyard—were stolen.
“We had managed to salvage a few big toys from the backyard. The children's Little Tyke playhouses, wagon, picnic table, sandbox and such,” says Lydia Moore.
Workers demolishing the torched remains of their Rose Blossom Drive home were working on the house when a man pulled up and said he was there to get some things.
“He did not have our permission or anyone else's. He actually stole our stuff from our backyard in front of the poor workers who were busy working,” Moore says.
“He said he would be back...well of course he needed to come back, he had taken only half a playhouse. As well as another playhouse and lots of other stuff. He even made a pile of what he was going to load including the kids bikes.”
Moore says she and the kids stayed at the house waiting for him so she could call police to catch him in the act, but he didn’t return.
A fire started in the garage of Kevin and Lydia Moore’s home on May 23, 2011, as Lydia was walking her children to school. The blaze destroyed the building and everything inside. No one was physically injured but the many months since that day have taken their toll on the family.
Donations of clothing, furniture and toys from the community came pouring in and the family now lives in a rental in Santa Clara. To attempt to keep some continuity in the children’s lives the family opted to keep the children in their Cupertino schools. Now Lydia spends a few hours a day shuttling the kids from the rental to their Cupertino schools. They aren’t all on the same bell schedule so there’s some scheduling and timing to keep track of.
Lydia figures she knows every clean public restroom between Cupertino and Santa Clara.
Like salt in a still-open wound it stung when Scott Herhold, a Mercury News columnist, featured the Moore family home in a contest for worst blight in the county. Outcries from the community arose and the family defended itself in a letter to the editor that explained delays between the insurance company and contractors handcuffed the family from being able to move forward with the demolition of the blackened structure.
Herhold has yet to back down or deliver an apology to the family as some have suggested he should, and instead told Patch, “My original piece made no attempt to blame anyone…16 months is a long time. Maybe some attention to this will help move things a little faster.”
So it seems ironic that on the day the demolition—the start of which was the result of the process, not Herhold’s column or contest—that the few belongings that survived the fire would be snatched from the family’s home.
The demolition was on schedule to be complete this week.