Mountaintop Rallies Around Fire Victims

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A community in Luzerne County Sunday night rallied around a Mountaintop family whose home burned down two weeks ago.

At the party, Jack and Amy Gentilesco, and their five children aged 14-22, were the guests of honor.

"I think it may be the nicest holiday we`ve ever had," said Amy, doubting she'd have said something like that two weeks ago.

The Gentilesco`s home in Mountaintop burned to the ground in a spectacular fire.

No one was hurt, but the family lost everything inside.

"It`s just a terrible thing to happen to such a wonderful family," said Kara Maloney, a friend of the Gentilesco's oldest daughters.

Their friends had to do something to help their friends who lost so much.

"Our house burned down years ago," said family friend Gary Buczynski.  "I know what they`re going through."

That's why friends put together a pre-Christmas party at the "Touch of Class Palace."  The money raised will help the Gentilescos rebuild.

"It's bad they lost a lot of mementos, things like that.  The house will be rebuilt, and they will get through it," said Gary Buczynski.

"We`re lucky to be here to celebrate," added Amy Gentilesco.  "We`re lucky that we`re in this community."

Lucky on many levels.

Their family's helpless feelings of watching fire destroy their home passed quickly.

Two days after the fire, something far worse happened with the murder of 26 young students and teachers at a Connecticut elementary school.

That's why the Gentilescos see their situation as a setback, not a tragedy.

"And we know that our kids are here, with us, and everything is going to be just fine," Amy said.

The Gentilescos are staying with relatives for the holidays, and plan to rebuild their home in Mountaintop.