According to friends, the family of Cindy LaRiviere, a labor and delivery nurse, was asleep when the flames spread to her rental home and quickly engulfed it due to the dry weather conditions.
“(The fire) went very quickly,” said family friend Katie McCallister. “They barely had time to get out and get their cars out of the way — for the most part they lost everything.”
Escaping with whatever clothes and possessions they could throw out of the windows and salvage from the garage, the family is currently staying in a hotel, the cost of which is being covered by Valley Churches United Missions.
To help LaRiviere and her twin daughters, and 10-year-old son, both McCallister and Brittany Stolting — the daughter of Connie Stolting, LaRiviere's friend, fellow nurse, and owner of the destroyed house — launched fundraiser pages on GoFundMe.org to help the family replace lost items and search for a new place to live.
“(LaRiviere) is a dear friend of my mom,” Stolting said. “I started the GoFundMe site basically as soon as I found out about the fire.”
Between the two sites, more than $12,000 has been raised via GoFundMe contributions as of Tuesday, Jan. 14.
LaRiviere said that she and her family “were humbled” by the amount of support they’ve received since the fire.
“We’re still just trying to comprehend what’s happened,” she said. “It’s overwhelming how good our community is.”
Stolting said that while she knew that the community would support the LaRivieres, she was surprised by the sheer volume of support — both from the San Lorenzo Valley community and the nursing staff at Good Samaritan Hospital, where LaRiviere and Stolting's mother work.
“The community support has been very generous,” she said. “I've also had tons of people messaging me wanting to bring furniture, clothes, kitchenware — all the things she'll need to start a new home.”
Stolting said that she was also working to set up a location for donations to be dropped off.
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