The mother of the Syracuse University basketball player whose home in Hamilton burned down while he was on the court in the NCAA tournament thanked the community today for their assistance.
“It’s been incredible and just amazing to see the outpouring of support,” said Mandy Carter-Zegarowski, mother of Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams.
When Carter-Zegarowski’s home was gutted by a chimney fire Saturday, she was in San Jose, Calif. watching her oldest son, 21, lead the Syracuse team to a Sweet 16 berth.
The joy of her son’s victory was short lived for Carter-Zegarowski, who coaches girl’s basketball at Ipswich High School, as she returned home to find her home and all of her belongings reduced to ashes.
“It’s been tough. It’s almost overwhelming for them at this point,” said Lorraine Soucy, a friend of the Carter-Zegarowski family. “They’re displaced from the home, it’s pretty much impossible to live here.”
Carter-Zegarowski’s husband, Zach Zegarwoski, and twin 14-year-old boys, Maxwell and Marcus Zegarowski, were in the house at 261 Cutler Road watching Carter-Williams play when it caught fire around 10 p.m. Saturday.
Fortunately nobody was hurt, Carter-Zegarowski said.
The blaze left Maxwell, Marcus and 16-year-old Masey Zegarowski, who was in San Jose with her mother at the time of the fire, with just the clothes on their back, Carter-Zegarowski said.
While she and her husband search for a temporary home to live in they have been staying with a friend, whose daughter plays basketball with Masey. Family and friends have bought clothes and basic supplies for the family, helping to return some semblance of normalcy to their lives.
“The kids wanted to get right back to school and into their routine,” Carter-Zegarowski said. “We processed the fire with them after, but I think it’s something that’s going to take some time to fully process.”
Meanwhile, Carter-Williams, a projected NBA draft pick, is preparing for his next game against the first-seeded Indiana University Hoosiers on Thursday in Washington, D.C.
Carter-Zegarowski said the whole family is hopes to be sitting in the stands of the Verizon Center there when the game tips off.
“I think for Michael, he feels a little bit helpless not being here around his family,” she said. “We’re really encouraging him to stay focused on basketball and his academics.”
Another family friend has set up the Carter-Zegarowski Fire Fund to help the family while they regain their feet, Soucy said. Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 662 in Rowley, Ma, 01969.Todd Feathers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @ToddFeathers.