SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA.com) — The power of the Internet is being marshaled to help firefighters whose homes were destroyed in the raging Sand Fire.
Sergio Toscano, a Marine veteran and a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service since 2012, was battling a blaze in the Cleveland National Forest near San Diego when the Sand Fire erupted in the Santa Clarita Valley area.
When the Sand Fire — which has so far killed one person, destroyed 18 homes and scorched 33,000 acres at only 10 percent containment – raged through the Bear Divide Ranger Station, it destroyed the homes of Toscano and two other U.S. Forest Service firefighters.
Toscano said the home was a complete loss because he had only been living there for a month, and had yet to set up his insurance, according to Everipedia. So Brandon Opliger of Hemet set up a GoFundMe page to help Toscano, who learned his home had been destroyed on Saturday, recover his losses.
According to Opliger, Toscano was at first unaware the GoFundMe page had been set up on his behalf.
“Sergio is beyond grateful for the outcry for support he is receiving and will personally thank everyone when he has the time,” Opliger wrote.
Toscano also pledged to split the funds with the other Forest Service families that also lost their homes.