VALLEJO, Calif. - A family of five who escaped a house fire in Vallejo is struggling to get back on their feet.
Troy Gaskin and his four sons have been living at a motel ever since the fire ripped through their home 10 days ago.
The single father said he needs a new place to live that's suitable for his boys, whose ages range from 7 to 13.
Gaskin said he was taking a nap, recuperating from a heart attack he recently suffered, when the fire broke out on March 19.
"I grabbed the kids, got them outside, called 911, and just waited. I was in a daze," Gaskin said.
The Gaskin home was a rental and is now boarded up, deemed unlivable.
The week before the fire, the 51-year-old father had a heart attack, his second in a matter of months.
Gaskin said he is unemployed after losing his job installing home theater systems at the start of the pandemic.
"Everything's been taken out of me. I'm just trying to survive with these kids," he said.
A spokesman with the Vallejo Fire Department said investigators suspect the cause of the fire could be electrical.
Gaskin said he didn't have renters' insurance and that his family lost everything in the fire, including his sons' laptops for distance learning.
"I want to get one asap," said 13-year-old Chas Gaskin, the oldest son of the bunch. "Pretty worried because next year is high school for me."
Allison Hill heard about the plight of the Gaskin family through social media and started a GoFundMe to help them.
"They need a home. They need somebody who's going to understand their situation and help them out," Hill said.
Gaskin said he’s grateful for the community support.
He said everything he and his boys have now has been donated.
The father said he hopes to move out of the motel and provide a stable home for his sons.
"I've got to be here for these boys. I'm all they have," Gaskin said. "I want to show them this is the right path. If you have a child, you need to take care of that child. That's what I'm trying to instill in these kids."
Gaskin said he paid $1,400 a month in rent.
He anticipates it will be difficult to find another home he can afford since he doesn't know when he'll be able to work again due to his medical condition.
If you want to help the Gaskin family, click here.