In the midst of the devastating Thomas wildfire in the Los Angeles area, Eric Valenzuela, who lives in nearby Ventura County, set up a safe space for kids who have been affected by the natural disaster. Valenzuela posted a photo of the space on Reddit and it quickly went viral.
Many children — who lost their homes and nearly the entirety of their possessions — were left without a place to unwind. Valenzuela saw the need in his community and set up several gaming consoles with kid-friendly video games and opened the space up for people in need.
Parents also stopped by with their kids to play board games with Valenzuela and briefly stop thinking about the fires.
“I knew there were kids living there and lost everything they knew,” Valenzuela wrote to the IB Times. “I couldn’t sit by thinking these kids, who had lost everything they knew, would be in a shelter with no way to distract themselves from the raging inferno, so I did the first thing that came to mind.”
The fire’s conditions have unfortunately been worsening, as a result of high winds coupled with strange wind patterns. At this time, the fire is five percent contained. The winds are expected to become more intense through the week.
At this point, around 150 buildings and structures have completely burned, ranging from apartment buildings, houses, and hospitals. Roughly 50,000 residents were forced to evacuate their homes.