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Benefit Raises Thousands for Sand Fire Victims

EL DORADO COUNTY-

Thousands came together Friday to raise money for the victims of the destructive Sand Fire.

“We put our own well in, we dug all the lines for the water, we cleared the trees and you could hear the river running every summer we would go down to the beach in the summer time. It was the most beautiful place in the world,” Colleen O’Key said about her and her husband’s dream home. “It’s not a dream home like a castle like other people might think, but it was our dream.”

Their home burned down last month during the Sand Fire.

“July 26th at 2 o’clock, the house and everything in it was gone,” O’Key said.

Firefighters could do little to stop about 20 homes from going up in flames.

“And that’s really sad, and it was terrible to have to talk to those people and deal with those people we’ll never forget that, and neither will they,” Todd Cunningham, Assistant Chief with the Pioneer Fire Department said Friday.

But now that the fire is out, and many are applauding those firefighters for making sure more homes didn’t burn.

And the El Dorado and Amador County communities took action to help by eating dinner and buy raffle tickets.

It’s all part of a benefit dinner raising money for those affected like O’Key. It’s an effort put on by countless small businesses and community leaders.

“Everything paid for. It’s 100 percent donations and 100 percent of the proceeds going back to the victims,” organizer Taylor Landaker said.

It’s help the American Red Cross in El Dorado County says it can’t provide on its own.

“Heirlooms, they’re never going to be replaced, so you have to start fresh with new heirlooms,” said Tami Martin with the American Red Cross.

O’Key said the money may not replace lost heirlooms… But support from her neighbors is the next best thing.

“These are people who don’t even know us. These people want to lend a hand, and that’s a miracle,” O’Key said.