The community is rallying for an engaged North Plainfield couple whose home under construction was destroyed by an arsonist.
Mike Carroccia, 25, and his fiancé, Taylor Miller, 24, awoke to a phone call from a neighbor shortly before 3 a.m. on May 27, with some devastating news.
“Your house is on fire -- the roof just collapsed and your front door has fallen down,” the neighbor told them.
Mike and Taylor immediately jumped out of bed and ran out the door to check on the state of the home, and they couldn’t believe their eyes.
“Watching the firefighters, seeing our neighbors homes catch fire, it’s a feeling I pray no one ever has to experience,” Taylor told Daily Voice. “It was heartbreaking, devastating, numb.”
To make matters worse, the couple grew even more heartbroken at the agonizing thought of breaking the news to Mike’s grandfather, who had been meticulously crafting the home’s every detail.
The home also had sentimental value because it’s where Mike proposed to Taylor. He told her that they had to attend a town meeting for the home, but on May 11, 2019, he got down on one knee at the lot and popped the question.
To Taylor’s shock, Mike had invited her family from Rhode Island to come out and surprise her afterward.
“It was the most special time of our lives -- a day I will never forget,” Taylor said.
Nearly $11,000 had been raised on a GoFundMe for Taylor and Mike as of Friday morning. The funds will be used to help the couple rebuild their dream home.
“Taylor and Michael are two humble and hardworking individuals who are always the first to offer a helping hand,” reads the fundraiser. “This is an incredibly difficult time for them given all of the circumstances and they are extremely grateful for their family, friends, and other helpers.”
Meanwhile, the two are still staying with Mike’s grandparents in the upstairs apartment of their home in Scotch Plains. Michael works as a Local 825 Operating Engineer for the Union, and Taylor is a Surgical and Patient Coordinator who has been laid off due to COVID-19 since mid-March.
Despite the obstacles they’ve faced, Taylor and Mike remain grateful for all the support they’ve received from friends and family.
“We feel like we cannot let this terrible tragedy ruin everything we have worked so hard for,” said Taylor. Having all of this love and support made us feel so strong and we know that no matter what, we can overcome this hardship….We will not let this horrible act of violence hold us back from recreating our dream home.”
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