A Twain Harte family is among Tuolumne County residents who have been recently forced from their homes due to heavy snow and roof collapses, and they are seeking funds for a new place to stay.
Aunna Hankins, Joseph Hankins, and their 5-year-old daughter, Peyton, have temporarily moved to a motor home in Sonora because their rented home in Twain Harte was recently red-tagged as unsafe to occupy.
The roof of the duplex next door to theirs collapsed last week under heavy snow, and it could further collapse into their building, making both buildings unsafe, according to Tuolumne County’s building department.
The Hankins family had lived in the duplex off the west end of Twain Harte Drive the past four years. Their duplex and the one next door are side-by-side single-story dwellings separated by 5 feet.
About 5 p.m. last Sunday, March 5, it began snowing hard and by 8 or 9 p.m. the snow appeared to be about 4 feet deep on the roofs of both duplexes, Joseph Hankins said Tuesday in a phone interview.
“Sunday night we heard cracking and popping in the attic,” he said. “It sounded like small, breaking trees in the attic. We woke up early Monday being evacuated.”
The roof on their next-door neighbors’ duplex collapsed about 1:30 a.m Monday, March 6, he said. Firefighters arrived about 2 a.m. and evacuated both duplexes, Joseph Hankins said.
“The fire department came and asked us to evacuate,” he said. “A county building inspector found cracks in the ceiling and in the roof.”
More than a week later, both structures remained red-tagged for being unsafe to occupy as of Tuesday afternoon.
“Neighboring building could collapse into the building,” a red placard on the building where the Hankins family lived states in handwriting.
The placard is timed and dated 3:30 March 6 and states the building was inspected under emergency conditions for the Tuolumne County Building Department.
Joseph Hankins started a GoFundMe page last week and titled it “We are in need of a new home.”
The Hankins family’s landlord has advised the Hankins they need to look for another rental, Joseph Hankins said. It’s bad timing because his business, Hankins Hauling and Yard Services, has had no work this winter due to the weather, and his family’s savings have been depleted.
“We need to raise money,” Hankins said Tuesday. “We are trying to come up with a deposit for a new house, and cover our moving costs, storage fees, hotels, and food, while I’m still trying to run my business and support my family any way I can.”
Aunna Hankins is pregnant and expecting in August. Peyton is a special needs student attending structured preschool in Columbia. The past week-and-a-half have been especially trying for their daughter, Joseph Hankins said.
“We need to find a home ASAP!” Joseph Hsnkins says on the GoFundMe page. “I have a baby on the way. If anyone can help even a small amount will be greatly appreciated! We need a miracle right now.”
Joseph Hankins was among four people recognized in October 2022 by the California Highway Patrol Sonora-area office for their courage and willingness to put themselves in harm’s way by stopping to help a pregnant mom and her 20-month-old son at the scene of a fiery vehicle crash in December 2019.
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, the GoFundMe page for the Hankins family had received 43 donations and raised $3,560 of a $10,000 goal.
For more information and to make donations, go to https://gofund.me/91b0cfc4.
Contact Guy McCarthy at email@example.com or (209) 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.