‘It’s been a rough year’: Fitness trainer battling cancer loses childhood home in fire in Fresno County

Local News

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) – A lifetime of memories, now gone.

That’s what a Fresno County family is going through after their home burned down Friday morning near Elkhorn and Fowler avenue.

The loss of the family home is just one more challenge after a difficult year for the family.

If the name Rhonda Murphy sounds familiar, it’s because her fitness business has been around for decades here in Fresno. She works alongside her mother, known to many as Mama Rose.

It was early Friday morning when Rhonda received a call no one wants to wake up to.

“I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’ She says, ‘The house is on fire, the house is on fire!” recalled Rhonda.

Rhonda’s childhood home was up in flames, and her nephew and parents were inside.

“Dad didn’t have shoes on, nephew didn’t have shoes on, they were in their pajamas, and my mom said she grabbed the dog and her purse grabbed her slippers,” explained Rhonda.

Despite the home being a total loss, everyone is safe, but still in pain.

Her nephew and father, Ernie, both were burned while trying to douse flames with a hose.

Rhonda used to be a firefighter.

“He was like, ‘I can’t believe you did this for a living.’ That’s the hardest part because people lose everything in an instant, in minutes because I mean it wasn’t a fancy home, it went up like a candle,” Rhonda said.

The loss of the three-generation home is not the only hardship of the year.

In January, Rhonda was diagnosed with breast cancer.

As she continues to battle the disease, she’s taking in her parents in their time of need.

“It’s been a rough year, a rough year and you know they worry about me, but I have a home, they can feel safe,” said Rhonda.

Fire officials have not yet determined the cause of the fire.

Rhonda says her parents want to move back to the property if they can, but they’re still in need of so many items.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family recover following the fire.

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