Kim Ringeisen

Gilroy Couple Donate Their Possessions To Camp Fire Survivors

Matt Bigler
December 10, 2018 - 2:31 pm

A volunteer who searched charred wreckage in Paradise, California has donated nearly all of his belongings to residents who lost everything in the destructive Camp Fire

Kim Ringeisen, an Army veteran from Gilroy, and his wife Annette were poised to move cross-country to North Carolina with all of their worldly belongings.

But now their furniture, electronics, dishes, even his wife's handmade dolls and almost everything else have been loaded inside of a 26-feet-long trailer and will be distributed to firefighters and other families who survived the inferno. 

"We didn't lose something to a fire very abruptly, so for us I think it's good if we can donate everything we have," said Ringeisen to KPIX-TV. "We'll start over."

He said that he was moved to act after combing through 100 homes in Paradise. The flames killed 85 people and leveled 13,972 homes. 

Ringeisen and his wife will start in a rental and "then find a home and new career," he said in a message to KCBS Radio. 

"Time to exit high-tech and focus on emergency services and disaster response," Ringeisen wrote. 

The damage from the fire was unlike anything he's seen in 15 years of search and rescue missions, he said.

So many people have donated used items to the displaced Butte County residents that some organizations have turned away donations of clothing. Monetary donations are best, charities have said.