(LOS ANGELES) — Men who have dedicated their lives to fighting fires are among those who lost their homes in a massive Los Angeles-area wildfire that has burned more than 33,000 acres, according to authorities.
Firefighters have been working to battle the Sand Fire near Santa Clarita for days. The blaze is at 10 percent containment, officials said Monday.
Several thousand homes threatened by the Sand Fire were saved by firefighters, but the blaze has destroyed about 18 structures — including five homes belonging to fire personnel and forest employees, authorities said.
Firefighters Ramon Chavez and James Robledo and their families are among them.
“We just want to make sure our kids are fine and they’re impacted as little as possible,” Chavez told ABC News.
His wife, Bonnie Chavez, was in San Diego when the family evacuated, but Ramon Chavez called her to see what she wanted him to take — she requested her wedding dress. “For maybe, one day, my daughters,” she said.
The Chavez family also lost a home to fire in 2009.
Ramon Chavez said they’re not only thankful for the support they’re receiving, but “we also want to provide that support.”
“Knowing how important the support from family and friends is, that’s something that we know goes a long way with the healing process and the rebuilding process,” he said.
While they’re living in a hotel with nowhere to return home to, Tanya Robledo said their children are strong and realize the families are safe, which is more important than material things.
“We’re rebuilding together as a family. It’s not just one unit or two, it’s all of us together,” she said.
“With what we lost, we came together as a family,” James Robledo said. “Anytime somebody loses something, we try to pull together.”
“It’s devastating,” he added. “Material things we can replace. But family you can’t.”
Firefighter Sergio Toscano, a Marine veteran who works with the U.S. Forest Service, also lost his home in the Sand Fire, according to ABC’s Los Angeles station KABC. He’s since been assigned to help battle the blaze.
Their families are part of a youcaring.com fundraising page to help rebuild.
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