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Firefighters donate $2K in gift cards to Camp fire victims

Four Kern County firefighters bought more than 200 Target gift cards and gave them away to Butte County residents on their days off

By FireRescue1 Staff

EDISON, Calif. — A group of firefighters donated hundreds of gift cards to victims of the Camp fire while working to battle the flames.

KGET reported that a photo of the firefighters spending $2,000 on Target gift cards went viral after an employee spotted them.

Firefighters Andrew Duitsman, Elliot Reyna, Nic Hanson and Tanner Renz spent 12 days battling the flames in Butte County, and said it was the worst fire they’d seen in their career.

“This is definitely the most destructive and devastating fire that I’ve ever been on,” Reyna said.

The firefighters gave away more than 200 gift cards to those in need on their days off.

Duitsman said the gift cards were a “way for [them] to just give back.”

“We had that sense of we need to be doing more –a nd not just fighting the fire like we normally do. But how can we help these people who are hurting so badly?” he said. “There were even people when we would give them the gift cards that said, ‘No, I don’t need this. Find somebody else that needs it more than I do.’”

The firefighters said their actions caused a chain of good deeds.

“Some people had lost everything and they were still coming out to help out the firemen in some way and give them socks, and try and buy us coffee, or whatever they wanted to do to try and help us,” Hanson said.

Duitsman said helping people is “why [they] signed up for the job.”

“We didn’t do it for the thanks,” he said. “We do it so we can make a difference in individuals’ lives on a daily basis.”