SANTA BARBARA, California — December 3, 2008. The Coastal Organization for the Research of Potentially Supernatural Events (C.O.R.P.S.E), a California-based paranormal research group, has established a donation site to offer aid to Lance and Carla Hoffman, a young couple who lost their home and were badly burned in the Tea House Fire that raged through the mountains of Santa Barbara County this November. Long-time friends of many of C.O.R.P.S.E’s members, both Lance and Carla are avid fans of the fantastic. Carla hosts a popular comic book blog and manages a local comic and gaming store, and Lance, who lives up to his name in every sense, participates in Medieval-style battles with the Society for Creative Anachronism.
The Tea House Fire erupted in mid-November, sparked by an improperly extinguished campfire in the mountains outside of Santa Barbara county. Lance and Carla, who lived in a small cottage in the mountains, were overtaken by a flash fire while moving to evacuate their home. Lance suffered worse burns than his wife, and, cording to his grandfather, it is suspected that Lance used his impressive size to shield Carla from the flames, and now also has second and third-degree burns on his head.. Though badly burned, Lance and Carla managed to make it to their car and to the nearby fire station, where they were immediately transported to Santa Barbara’s Cottage Hospital and then flown to Irvine. According to fact sheets posted by the Montecito Fire Department and a November 20th article published in the Santa Barbara Indepenedent, 210 residences were destroyed by the fire, 22 individuals were treated for smoke inhalation, and 3 people were hospitalized for burn injuries. Lance and Carla, among the three burned, suffered the worst. Both are currently being held at UC Riverside’s Regional Burn Center. They recently upgraded from “critical” to “serious” condition and are expected to make a full recovery. Having lost everything in the fire and having no insurance of note, they will face the daunting task of paying off medical bills and rebuilding their lives.
C.O.R.P.S.E has set up a Paypal donation site where those inclined to help can donate money to Lance and Carla’s cause. C.O.R.P.S.E also runs an online merchandise shop, and all proceeds made by that shop until 1/1/09 will go toward this cause. All money collected from the donation site and merch sales will be donated on the first of each month to a fund set up by the Montecito Fire Department through Santa Barbara Bank and Trust. For more information, or to make a donation, visit www.corpseonline.com and click the “Please Help” link.