A devastating fire at the home of Tina Johnson, who accused former U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of groping her, is being investigated as an arson, though officials say they do not believe it is related to the Moore allegations.
Johnson’s house in Gadsden, Ala. caught fire Wednesday morning while she and her husband were at work and her grandson was at school.
“I am devastated, just devastated,” Johnson told AL.com on Friday morning. “We have just the clothes on our backs.”
Johnson was one of several women who came forward in November with stories of questionable behavior or alleged sexual misconduct by Moore, the failed Republican candidate in Alabama’s special Senate election, which was held in December. Johnson told AL.com in November that during a visit to Moore’s office in 1991, when she was 28, he made several inappropriate comments and then groped her as she was leaving. Moore was 44 and married at the time. Moore has denied the allegations, but he lost the election to Democrat Doug Jones.
According to Natalie Barton, public information officer with the Etowah County Sheriff’s Department, officials are speaking with a person of interest but the ongoing investigation “does not lead us to believe that the fire is in any way related to Roy Moore or allegations made against him.”
The fire was reported around 8 a.m. Wednesday. There was no one home and no injuries were reported, but all of Johnson’s and her family’s belongings were destroyed, according to AL.com.
Johnson and her family are now living in a motel. She told reporters that officials told her the fire began at the back of the house, but there are no further details.
Former Obama staffer Katie Jacobs Stanton took it upon herself to set up a GoFundMe account in an effort to help Johnson’s family recover from the disaster.
“This is really upsetting,” Stanton wrote. “I haven’t set up a GoFundMe before but inspired to do so today. If anyone knows how to reach Ms. Johnson to let her know help is on the way, let me know.”
The page, which was shared by other former Obama staffers, reached more than half of its $10,000 goal within two hours of being posted, according to a report in The Hill.
“I don’t know Tina Johnson. But I believe her,” the page reads. “It has always been dangerous and risky for women (and men) to speak out against sexual harassment. Today, this danger reached a disturbing level. Tina’s home burned down and she lost everything.”
The page notes that the money will be given to Johnson to help rebuild her home. If she has insurance to cover the damage, the page notes, the campaign funds will be used to help her “ease the weight of all of this.”
“Money won’t erase what happened, but I truly hope it will help,” the page says.
This is really upsetting. I haven’t set up a @gofundme before but inspired to do so today. If anyone knows how to reach Ms. Johnson to let her know help is on the way, let me know. cc @robsolomon1 @danpfeiffer https://t.co/Fn4wTYN440 https://t.co/0uTR2KNX7g
— Katie Jacobs Stanton (@KatieS) January 5, 2018
The response has been inspiring and heartwarming. Thank you! We have increased the goal… https://t.co/ftTL83Amar
— Katie Jacobs Stanton (@KatieS) January 6, 2018
Roy Moore accuser Tina Johnson ‘loses everything’ after home burns down in suspected arson https://t.co/vjZ9uggDzh
— Raw Story (@RawStory) January 5, 2018