What happened?

At 1am on 05/03/2018, a bedsheet touched a small tealight and caught fire. The fire spread quickly even as Leon and his son Kris tried to put out the blaze with hoses and fire extinquishers. Realizing the growing danger, the Zdans retreated to the street and called the fire department. The fire trucks arrived in time to prevent the fire from spreading to any other structures. Dispatched along with the Mill Valley Fire, the American Red Cross swooped in to provide Leon and Kris with clothes, shoes, and a hotel room. In less than 10 minutes, fire had taken everything else, including Kris and Kelly's beloved French bulldog Ruby. Luckily, Kelly was not in the structure at the time of the fire.

How can I help?

Thankfully, Leon was well-insured. So at this time Leon does not need money, things, or food. There are, however, many ways you can help.

Send pictures

When looking over the handful of items that were pulled from the ashes, Leon said, I'd trade all of these for one picture from the photo albums. You can help the Zdans rebuild their collection of memories by sending any pictures you have of the family to pictures@zdan.news. Attachments, Dropbox links, zip files, whatever format you like. We'll be uploading all of them to the cloud.

Send memories of 16 Stanton Way

Help the Zdans remember their home with your favorite stories of the time you spent there. We want a collection of these memories to remind Leon that the tens of thousands of hours he accumlated making 16 Stanton Way a welcoming home were not lost in the fire, but are borne on in the memories of those he welcomed there.

a man of substance dear to his fellows; for his dwelling was by the road-side and he entertained all men - Homer, The Iliad, Book VI, line 12

Send condolences

Your sympathy is kindness enough. Please feel free to let the Zdans know you are thinking of them by sending your thoughts to condolences@zdan.news

Donate to the American Red Cross

When your local Fire Department gets a call that a house in on fire, they call American Red Cross volunteers to take care of the immediate needs of a family experiencing the worst day of their lives. These volunteers are available at all hours of the night and drop everything to comfort and support displaced families who might have fled their homes in nothing more than pajamas. In Leon and Kris's case, this meant getting them a hotel, clothes, and size 15 shoes, all for free. If you would like to support the organization that made this act of humanity possible, please conside a donation to the American Red Cross.

What will Leon do?

It's too early to tell, but if you would like to stay updated on Leon's plans, please sign up here and we'll keep you updated with regular emails about Leon's thoughts on rebuilding, resettling, and the 10,000,000 other decisions that have to be made when your life burns down.

Can I see it?

For those that wish to see it, we will be assembling galleries of the house both before and after the fire. Stay updated to see those when they are added.

Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light, 1968.

A thing happens once that has never happened before. Seeing it, a man looks upon reality.

He cannot tell others what he has seen. Others wish to know, however, so they question him saying, What is it like, this thing you have seen? So he tries to tell them. Perhaps he has seen the very first fire in the world. He tells them, It is red, like a poppy, but through it dance other colors. It has no form, like water, flowing everywhere. It is warm, like the sun of summer, only warmer. It exists for a time upon a piece of wood, and then the wood is gone, as though it were eaten, leaving behind that which is black and can be sifted like sand. When the wood is gone, it too is gone. Therefore, the hearers must think reality is like a poppy, like water, like the sun, like that which eats and excretes. They think it is like to anything that they are told it is like by the man who has known it. But they have not looked upon fire. They cannot really know it. They can only know of it. But fire comes again into the world, many times. More men look upon fire. After a time, fire is as common as grass and clouds and the air they breathe. They see that, while it is like a poppy, it is not a poppy, while it is like water, it is not water, while it is like the sun, it is not the sun, and while it is like that which eats and passes wastes, it is not that which eats and passes wastes, but something different from each of these apart or all of these together.

So they look upon this new thing and they make a new word to call it. They call it fire.

If they come upon one who still has not seen it and they speak to him of fire, he does not know what they mean. So they, in turn, fall back upon telling him what fire is like. As they do so, they know from their own experience that what they are telling him is not the truth, but only a part of it. They know that this man will never know reality from their words, though all the words in the world are theirs to use. He must look upon the fire, smell of it, warm his hands by it, stare into its heart, or remain forever ignorant. Therefore, fire does not matter, earth and air and water do not matter. I do not matter. No word matters.

But man forgets reality and remembers words.