Former California Residents Living in American Fork Gathering Supplies For People Devastated by Carr Fire
Jul 31, 2018, 5:01 PM | Updated: 9:12 pm
AMERICAN FORK, Utah – The Carr Fire burning in California has devastated hundreds of families. A large group of friends and families from that California community who moved to American Fork is gathering necessities for those people. As they watched the devastation from afar, the California transplants knew they had to do something.
“It’s burned down a lot of childhood memories already,” said Travis Eide, who was born and raised in Redding, California, the community most impacted by the Carr Fire.
The hospital where he was born, he said, has been affected by the fire. Sitting in American Fork, he and his friends from Redding struggle to comprehend the devastation of the wildfire that has wiped out more than 800 homes.
“I ended up even crying a couple of times” said Eide. “It’s just it’s been utterly heartbreaking.”
He moved to American Fork with his young family a couple of years ago. Three of his 11 siblings live here, too. Now, he’s frustrated being away from friends and family who need help.
Eide has already started gathering donations with his friends. They picked up 20 cases of water from his employer, Discovery Academy in Provo. Members in their LDS Church have donated clean bedding, clean towels, toiletries, baby supplies and kids’ toys.
They are collecting more relief supplies tonight and tomorrow night from 5-8 pm at McGee’s Stamp and Trophy at 290 East State Road in downtown American Fork. They’ll drive a van to California Thursday, and a trailer will follow next Tuesday.
They’re eager to help friends and families who have lost everything.
“It was super hard to be this far away, 12 hours, not really know anything,” said Eide. “I actually have a lot of family there.”
His great grandmother, grandmother, and a sister all evacuated their homes as the fire closed in. A brother is fighting the fires. An uncle is helping evacuees.
“There’s families with real young kids that have lost everything,” he said.
Eide is driving out to California Thursday with a close friend, Zak Abersold, who also relocated to American Fork.
“I love that community,” said Abersold. “It’s part of who I am.”
They will both distribute the water and clothes, and volunteer in California this weekend.
“It kind of stressed me out not being able to be there and help and be around all of those people that I kind of grew up with and knew from our community,” he said.
“It’s so much bigger than any other fire we’ve seen,” said Victoria Basinger Lovett, another friend from the Redding area.
Next week, Victoria Lovett’s parents and brother will make a delivery with a trailer loaded with supplies.
“People have lost everything,” she said. “So, really anything that can be donated.”
She said the devastation off the fire has left her feeling unsettled about the place where she grew up.
“Just kind of worried and being scared for my friends and family back home.”
They all know it will take a lot of time to rebuild the community.
“It really just kind of touched my heart, and I feel like I really need to help my community,” said Eide.