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PLACERVILLE - After 20 homes and 47 buildings were destroyed by the Sand Fire in El Dorado and Amador counties in July, the community came together Friday night for a special benefit at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.

Residents extended a big thank you to firefighters and first responders. They also turned out to support those who need it the most, families who lost everything in the Sand Fire.

As many as 3,500 people turned out for the good cause.

"It's obvious tonight they're responding because their neighbors got burned out," Event Coordinator Gordon Vacini said.

Every penny raised, every dollar donated will help victims of the Sand Fire get back on their feet. The stories of what the fire victims lost are heartbreaking.

"One day she has everything. The next day, she didn't even have a toothbrush," Vacini said.

Michael and Becky Bamber lost their Mt. Aukum home on Painted Pony Road. They had lived there for 24 years.

"I got the call and within 20 minutes, I got eight dogs and five cats in back of the truck," Michael Bamber said.

"It's very difficult, very difficult to go in and find everything we had gone," Becky Bamber said. "The best thing we can do is move one step forward each day."

But now, with added community support, couples like Rick and Colleen Ogden can rebuild.

"That was our home. But, it's gone from a disaster site to a new building site," Rick Ogden said. "We're excited about that. We're moving on."

"We're a tough group, we're not going anywhere," Colleen Ogden added.

Fire victims will have to qualify for the money. Proceeds will go to help those families who need it the most. For more information, check out the El Dorado Community Foundation.

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