Family Loses Everything When Moving Van Catches Fire

Family Loses Everything When Moving Van Catches Fire

Sean Palomino, a video game developer, was moving from Texas to North Carolina in September when he suffered the most bizarre of setbacks: the moving van carrying his stuff burst into flames, destroying everything he and his family owned.

Formerly of id Software, the developers of Doom, he was on his way to join up with Epic Games, the team behind Gears of War. It was during the trip across the country that the “van transporting all of the family’s belongings experienced a freak accident”, first suffering a brake malfunction and then a fire, which left “nothing salvageable”.

Arriving at his new job and new home with…nothing, friends of Palomino have set up a charity drive where you can buy a special Gears of War t-shirt, made especially for the cause and with the blessing of Epic’s legal team.

It costs $US20, with all of the funds raised going directly to the Palomino family.

Brothers To The End [booster]

Family Loses Everything When Moving Van Catches Fire


    • Eventually, when they threaten to sue, but that doesnt really help “right now” when theyre in dire need of funds, and you cant just crank up your credit ultilisation ratio in the US

    • You’d think they’d be financially liable for it, but that would probably include taking them to court (‘murrika) for it, rather than a straight forward process of claiming insurance for the property we have here in Australia?

    • He may have been doing it himself with a rented van, or it’s even possible he had something in there that was against the terms. For instance my sister just moved and they wouldn’t take her lawnmower because it had petrol in it.

      But who knows, maybe he just didn’t fork out extra for insurance and that somehow clears the company of responsibility. Although if that were the case I’d imagine there’d be a lot more outrage. Everybody involved seems to be pretty calm about it.

  • Everyone experiences tragedy, not everyone gets a fundraiser. With his job at epic and his new home.. I think he can manage. Sorry if I seem heartless, I feel for the guy… just his life really doesn’t seem all that bad. Plus if epic are so compassionate they have more than enough resources to give this guy a hand.

    That shirt is pretty cool though, if only judgment never came out. I might still be a fan.

    • You think that’s bad, apparently that teenager that bought a photo of an xbox one off ebay was given one for free…..apparently being an idiot deserves a reward these days.

      • That’s actually what pushed me into saying something this time around. couldn’t believe it.

      • Different from some guy buying an xbox one and facing losing 800 bucks or so. This was a family. Who lost everything they had. It is more than bad and it definitely wasnt their fault.

        • No I completely agree and hope for the family that all the irreplaceables such as photo’s, certificates etc were left in a car with them instead of on the van. It’s also really nice of Epic Games to allow his friends to do the fundraiser.

    • Agreed. Its just stuff. I lost pretty much everything in the Christchurch earthquake, its not really a big deal. Did he not have insurance?

    • Working at Epic is probably great, but I doubt it pays well enough to just go out and buy a new fridge, washing machine, a double bed, a single bed, a crib, a basic wardrobe for him, his wife, his daughter and the baby, baby supplies, as well as a basic couch so they can sit there and stare at the wall in mild comfort (although I’m just assuming that photo was recent, they might not have baby stuff to worry about anymore). All that’s on top of the normal moving costs like connection fees, travel expenses, stocking up on food/household supplies, renting costs, etc.

      I’m not saying it’s the worst thing that every happened to anyone, but are you seriously going to sit there and say in their position you’d just tough it out? I’m sure I could do it if I had to but seriously, fuck that. They’ve got a chance at getting back on their feet a little faster and they’d be morons to not take it.

      • No, but I do feel we’re not being given a lot of information to go on.

        I mean, if you all buy 10 shirts, and find out later that he was fully insured for everything, how are you going to feel then?

        I feel for the guy, but his family is still alive. That’s not a tragedy. Stuff is just stuff. It can be replaced. People can’t be replaced.

        • Stuff is important. It’s not the most important thing in the world but it is important. Try eating your family being safe. Try sleeping on the fact that at least you’re not a drugged up sex slave. Can you drive ‘some people don’t even have jobs’ to work? Remember, December is pretty freakin’ cold over there and they don’t have their clothes. It could be worse, but lets face it name any situation and I can probably think of something worse. You can’t just dismiss the fact your house burnt down because nobody was harmed.
          When I was a kid the house across the road burned down. It was about mid December. My step dad put in a lot of hard work to make sure the kids that lived there had something on Christmas morning. On short notice he took my sisters old bike, cleaned it up, repainted it, made sure it was all working and took it to the place they were staying.
          They would have survived without his effort, and if you were to list everything wrong in the world at that moment in time there were probably a million people who had it worse than they did that he could have helped, but it was still super important that he did what he could to help them.
          Now the difference between his actions and this charity is simple. It’s money. You look at a dollar amount and you don’t see it as a gesture of kindness. You see it as meaningless dollars rather than the things it will buy. You see a ton of money changing hands after something terrible has happened and, quite understandably you get a little cynical. We hate money because it has a tendency to show up when people are at their worst.
          Think of it this way. His daughter looks like she’ll be going to a brand new school and meeting the people she’s probably going to grow up with. You can argue that they’d be shallow to base their first impressions on the fact she’s wearing clothes from the Salvation Army, but lets face it kids are dumb. Sending her to school with proper clothes and supplies, as well as making it so that she can invite new friends over to do more than look at the walls, is very, very important. People aren’t handing over $20, they’re handing over a t-shirt, a pack of texters, a school bag, a toy for Christmas.

          Maybe it is a scam. I don’t know for sure. Judging by the people putting their names on this it seems fairly sincere. Read the comments on the page. These people know him. Worst case scenario you’ll get a cool Gears of War collectors shirt out of it (provided you’ve got a delivery address in the US to get it shipped to).

          • Bra-fucking-vo mate. This thread made me so angry because of the staggeringly naive opinion that because someone has a job at Epic games then their “life doesn’t seem all that bad” and “he can manage”. Or the idea that we shouldn’t look favourably on passing the hat around because everyone who experiences a tragedy doesn’t get the same measure of support.

            I too remember when I was in my early 20s and I didn’t yet know how the world worked, I’m just glad the internet didn’t exist to enable me to broadcast my stupid thoughts beyond my brain.

          • I’m just glad the internet didn’t exist to enable me to broadcast my stupid thoughts beyond my brain.

            Some day I hope to grow out of that. =P

            Seriously though it’s not like Rowan is a douchebag or anything. From what I’ve read on Kotaku he’s a good guy. I’m definitely not trying to slam him (I know it comes off that way sometimes because I use a lot of letters and talk in statements). I just wrote all that because I think he may genuinely benefit from my perspective challenging his.
            His skepticism is completely understandable though. For all I know this is one guy with two dozen Facebook accounts hoping to make some easy money if his fake sob story goes viral.

          • Yeah, Rowan is cool.

            I’m just hot under the collar because of other stuff. And I’m a parent of two raising kids in a tough world (and I’ve lived in America and they do it tougher than us spoiled Australians) so I have that perspective. So I know that even with an above average paying job, it takes years to bounce back from a total wipe like this.

            Please accept my apologies Rowan for being as sharp as I was. When I’m emotional I get passionate and I am not as respectful as I ought to be.

            As far as broadcasting immature thoughts, at least today’s youngens will have the agonising privilege of reading their old thoughts in view of the public. All of my embarrassing philosophy is locked away in a box of my school diaries and the like, where only I can look back on them and cringe.

          • Oh shucks thanks man. But the only people in this world who think I’m cool are my kids. And I know that’s only going to last another 5 years at best.

            But thanks, I appreciate it. You’re alright as well. There are some good people here. No need to apologise, I didn’t take anything you guys said as an insult, just a discussion that we’re having.

            Would you judge me if I told you I was 33 though? I’m not (supposed) to be immature anymore, but I still like all the stuff I liked when I was 14. Sci-fi, games, fighting, tech. I kinda hope that never changes. I love all those things!

          • @rowan

            Thanks. I apologised because I generally take things to heart so I try to be as respectful as I expect others to treat me.

            Since I’m far older than you, I will confirm that you can still like stuff you liked when you were 14 even ay my age. When you reach the ripe old age of 34 you’ll understand =D

            BTW, I remember reading an interview with Tony Hawk and he was talking about how he constantly embarrassed his son in front of his friends. So if Tony Hawk’s kids don’t think he’s cool, what hope do any of us dads have?

          • Oh shucks, thanks man. I just come here and try not to be too negative about stuff.

            I wasn’t being cynical about whether it’s true or not, more… I feel that a lot of kotaku articles are manipulative in a way, only giving us parts of a story to make us feel a certain way

            I guess that is cynicism in a way… I dunno. I responded to your lovely post before which I put my personal thoughts about what happened together.

          • Thanks for the insightful post Dogman.

            I still kinda think it’s just stuff and that beginning again can be a good thing. I know for me, I’d be bummed if I lost all my gear, but the only thing I care about truthfully, is that my wife and children are ok. Everything else can be replaced except the photos.

            But I hear what you’re saying, and you said it well. It’s great that you feel the way you do. People like you make the world a better place.

  • Apart from some photos(which could be uploaded) I think losing ‘everything’ would be quite liberating. If people could get their heads around it. That’s why we love camping.
    Health and family. Cheers!
    Also how is the van driver?

  • It sucks but he still has the house he was moving into, as well as his job. Plenty of people are in a worse position than that. They also have whatever assets are in their bank accounts/shares. The t-shirt proceeds will help offset the loss nicely I’m sure.

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