Chico Business Owner Lets Employees Whose Homes Burned in Camp Fire Stay on Property

CHICO -- Kalei Kamanu still has his job in Chico but has nowhere close to stay.

“The closest family to us is in Lincoln," Kamanu said.

He lost nearly everything when the Camp Fire tore through his Paradise community.

“Money is nice and everybody needs that and they need clothing but they really needed a place to live," Riebe Auto Parts owner Bart Riebe said.

Riebe decided he would turn his back lot into a community for his employees who lost their homes. He has five trailers on the lot, housing families for free, just feet away from where his employees can still earn an income.

The trailers have beds, a restroom, fully functional kitchen and even Wi-Fi – but Riebe wasn’t done there.

“I challenged my guys, my construction team, and said, ‘You got one day to build a laundromat,’" he said.

And that’s exactly what they did.

“We thought this would help them out a lot,” Riebe told FOX40. “Especially having it right on site.”

These families are going to be staying in trailers through the holiday season. So to help get that Christmas spirit, the community came together to donate a Christmas tree and some poinsettias to every trailer.

“All the kids got together this last Sunday and decorated it and put the lights up," Kamanu said.

Riebe also says there is no deadline for families to move out.

It may not be the community they expected to live in but it’s a home Kamanu’s family is thankful for.