When Lupe Lopez’s boyfriend and his family the Lagunas’ evacuated from their Milk Barn Road property in Healdsburg Saturday night, Oct. 27, the family brought minimal supplies and belongings with them, thinking they’d be able to return in a few days.
However, while the family of five was evacuated they saw a discouraging video from a firefighter on Twitter that showed flames coming down Milk Barn Road toward their home.
When their landlord returned to check on the property later that weekend everything was burned to ground, save for a basketball hoop in the yard.
“It just kind of broke my heart,” Lopez said. Lopez is a San Francisco State University student and while she does not live with the Lagunas family, she said she spent the majority of her time at their home.
The event prompted Lopez to start a fundraising campaign through GoFundMe and now Lopez says she can see the community coming together to help a family that has always helped others through their kindness, and the horse training and feeding services they provided at their place of work at the Renaissance farm in Healdsburg.
Lopez said for the first four hours the campaign was online donations were not coming in and she was a bit disheartened, however, “Sure enough, we got out first donation and it started growing.”
The goal is to raise $5,000 for the family. As of Oct. 30 the campaign has $945 from 22 donors.
“They were the type of family that helped others so it is heartwarming to see others help them,” Lopez said. “I want to be able to give something back to help get them back on their feet,” she said.
The family migrated to the U.S. 20 years ago with nothing on their backs, and now Lopez says it is hard to see all that they have worked towards disappear in one night.
“Now, almost 20+ years after they are forced to start all over in the most devastating way possible,” Lopez’s GoFundMe page reads. “Just like many other families, they didn’t think it would reach Healdsburg, let alone their house. They left about 95% of their belongings back because they thought there would be able to come back to a home”
Lopez has also set up a Venmo (Lagunasfamilyfund), Cashapp ($Lagunasfamilyfund) and Paypal (Look for email firstname.lastname@example.org) to raise funds for the family.
For now, the family is staying in Cloverdale but they don’t know where they will go next since they have their German Shepard Dulce with them.
Lopez said that they might rebuild but it is still too early to tell.
“For the past 20 years, this family has worked extremely hard for everything they were able to get,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Now it’s gone.”
To make a donation to the GoFundMe campaign, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/house-loss-due-to-kincade-fire