Upland woman fundraising for her family devastated by fires in Maui

Leticia Juarez Image
Saturday, August 12, 2023
Upland woman fundraising for her family devastated by fires in Maui
An Upland woman is raising funds to help her family members who lost their homes in the Maui wildfires.

UPLAND, Calif. (KABC) -- For many Southern California residents with ties to Maui it was through social media that they first learned of the devastation caused by a wind-driven wildfire.

It's also how Candice Voelker learned that her uncle Armando Serrano was missing.

"My cousin Noelle sent me a message on Instagram that they couldn't find my uncle... He got trapped up there," Voelker said. "So for 12 hours we didn't know if he was alive.".

Voelker says her uncle made it out. He was able to take a photo of the family home to let his wife know the fire had reduced it to rubble. Their daughter's home, shared with the daughter's two children and husband, was also swept away by the same fire that tore through their neighborhood.

"It's complete ashes. Completely gone. Everything gone, and they weren't home at the time when it happened, so they didn't have notice to evacuate - to grab some stuff," Voelker said. "So they only have the clothes that was on them."

The two families are now staying with another family member whose home survived the fire. Voelker is also trying to help her family an ocean away from her home in Upland.

"I set up a GoFundMe," Voelker said. "I am trying to reach out to as many people as possible because they absolutely have nothing."