Ryan Sparks and his family woke up on Christmas last year to a horrible tragedy. While they were out spending time with family on Christmas Eve, their home which they were renting in Salinas, California had their home set ablaze due to faulty wiring in their kitchen. Although the Sparks family was kept safe, unfortunately their two dogs Remy and Lego perished in the fiery blaze. We interview Ryan to talk about the incident and the massive Funko Pop! collection that was lost in the fire. For more information on the extent of the damage, check out this article from The Californian.

Ryan’s entire Funko Pop! collection is considered a total loss as a result of the fire.
Ryan’s entire Funko Pop! collection is considered a total loss as a result of the fire.

Ryan, thanks for joining us. Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

I’m 27, married, with 2 kids. I’m currently a stay at home dad and attending school full time at a local community college in pursuit of a degree in Collaborative Health and Human Services. For fun we spend time as a family together, watch movies, and cook dinner when we can together.

And I understand you are a United States Veteran? Thank you for your service!

I did 6 years active duty as an Airborne Infantryman, a few of which with the 82nd Airborne DIvision and deployed to Iraq twice. I left active duty in December 2012 and completed 3 additional years with the California National Guard.

If you could tell us a little about the fire incident that occurred back in December. Do you know what the cause of the fire was?

The cause of the fire was determined by the deputy fire chief to be faulty wiring and a bad refrigerator. Everything was for the most part destroyed or ruined. The fire damage itself was contained to the kitchen but smoke damage affected everything else. There was also lead and asbestos released which further contaminated everything in the residence,

The Sparks Family
The Sparks Family

How long have you been collecting Funko Pop! figures prior to the fire?

We’ve been collecting for several years now, beginning of 2012. My wife and I were at Universal Studios and in one of the shops we were introduced to the figures. We bought our first 4 that day, Alien, Predator, Harley Quinn and Thor. From that day on we were hooked as our favorite shows, characters, and stories were finally made into figurines.

Do you have any other collections or hobbies?

I collected a lot of miscellaneous things, different things that showed of our nerdy-ness.

Have your children or friends shown any interest in your collection?

Our oldest son has, although he wants to play with them and we are, were, in box collectors.

Tell us a little about your Funko Pop! collection prior to the fire incident. Approximately how many Funko Pop! figures did you have? Do you have it cataloged somewhere?

We had over 300 destroyed in the fire with maybe close to 70 stored away in buckets. We unfortunately did not have them cataloged or recorded, a huge task that I was honestly to lazy to take on. I regret it now seeing the value in it.

What were some of your favorite Funko Pop! figures that were lost in the fire?

We had a few pops that were signed at conventions, Stephen Amell on his Arrow Pop, John Barrowman, and David Ramsey on the Diggle Arrow pop. Those were favorites because of the signatures and price. We had complete collections as well that we worked on for years that were destroyed as too. Other expensive ones lost were the crystal blue heisenberg, golden power armor, and a few vaulted ones.

Did you have collectibles insurance? If not, will homeowners insurance be able to cover any of the loss of the Funko Pop collection?

I did not have collectible insurance, something I will forever regret, among many other things. Renter’s insurance doesn’t come close to covering the cost of the items inside the house, let alone the collectibles.

Do you plan on eventually rebuilding the collection? If so, where can people send Funko Pop! figures to you?

We plan on slowly rebuilding our collection, going to take a long time for us. If people want to help we are forever grateful. 43 Capitol St. Salinas, CA 93901

What is your advice to fellow collectors out there who are seeing this as a wake up call to protect their investments?

LOOK INTO COLLECTIBLES INSURANCE! I know that they are physical items and can be replaced, I get that, heard it way too many times and I’m all too familiar with it. Just because things can be replaced doesn’t mean people shouldn’t take precautions to protect their investment values.

What’s next for the Sparks family?

Right now we are looking into permanent housing, trying to rebuild our lives, and moving forward. We are going back into our normal routines and dealing with life as it comes at us.

What about you guys out there? Do you have collectibles insurance or a database of your collection? As someone who has an extensive video game collection, this is something I have always considered but never followed through with. Here at Gaming With Swag, we all wish the Sparks family a speedy transition into a new permanent home. If you want to help out the Sparks family, you can visit their GoFundMe page or send donations to 43 Capitol St. Salinas, CA 93901.

By Thomas