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LAFD helps displaced Echo Park families following apartment fire

Firefighters provided dinner and toys to the Echo Park families left devastated by Thursday's apartment building fire.
December 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Three days after a deadly arson fire swept through their apartment building, displaced families received help from the Los Angeles Fire Department Sunday.

Firefighters from Station 20 provided dinner and new toys to the Echo Park families left devastated by the blaze which claimed the lives of two people and left 25 people displaced Thursday.

"I really appreciate it, it's something really special for all of us, especially the kids," said Eva Rivas, a fire victim.

Families were given temporary homes at Holiday Inn Express following the fire, which has since been deemed suspicious in nature.

Rayna Valomares, 14, says her family managed to escape when smoked filled their home, but her mother suffered burns.

"That's the important thing that my parents are OK, and that we're all OK, and nobody got injured except my mom, but she's gonna get through it," said Valomares.

Many firefighters from Station 20 fought the early morning blaze in the 100-year-old building. They wanted to help the displaced families.

"It's definitely tough around the holidays, we hate to see it anytime of year, and we want everyone to know that the Los Angeles Fire Department is part of the community and we are here to serve these people in any way we can," said L.A. Fire Department Capt. Ellsworth Fortman.

While they have lost their homes, these families say they are grateful for the act of kindness that is boosting their spirits.

"Life sometimes may be difficult, but even if things are difficult, sometimes it's for the better, I think there's gonna be a change and it's gonna be for the better," said Rivas.

The families say they're looking for new homes, but are ultimately grateful they're together and safe.

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