NORTHRIDGE (CBSLA) — It’s been nearly a week since a fire forced 16 Northridge families out of their homes.

The families lost their homes and belongings in the flames, which the city of L.A. says was started by illegal fireworks on July 4th. 

The families lost their homes and belongings in the flames, which the city of L.A. says was started by illegal fireworks on July 4th.

Ely Montelongo’s family was on their balcony watching fireworks light up the city when someone yelled “Fire!”

“It was a scary moment,” he said. “There were kids crying. The fire, it felt it wasn’t going to stop.”

While firefighters did manage to subdue the flames, it was too late to save the Montelongos’ home. The same goes for the 15 other families who lived in the apartment building.

Some are even living out of their cars for the time being.

Community groups, from LAPD to the Red Cross to the people who own the apartment building, are partnering with city councilmember John Lee to come to the rescue.

“Just to let them know they are not in this alone,” Lee said.

Donated include grocery store gift cards and other basic necessities to help these families get back on their feet. They’re also assisting the families with finding new homes.

“We are gonna try to do whatever we can to get them housing as soon as possible,” Lopez said.

Whatever donation money is left over will be divided between the families for spending money. The families say they are grateful.

“I feel like they’re saving us from everything,” Montelongo said.

Councilmember Lopez is encouraging the public to donate, if possible, to help rectify the unintended consequences of the July 4th celebrations.

“Now I know we got a lot of people, good people,” he said. “Not everyone is bad. We’ve got a lot of good people.”

Monetary donations to the fund to support the families impacted by the fire can be made by texting PartheniaRelief to 24365. Contributions will be accepted through July 31, 2020.

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