Daniel Morgan and Willa Koerner started a fundraiser on Rally.org to help the former residents of 1448 Valencia who were displaced by the fire on the afternoon of Oct. 28, an effort that has exceeded their goals.
Both have friends who lived in the building. Morgan described seeing them standing on the street watching the fire, saying some of them "just had the clothes on their backs."
He immediately wanted to do what he could to help.
"Me and my girlfriend asked them what they needed to get through the night,” he told us.
Morgan and Koerner started a fundraiser on the Rally.org website the day after the fire in the hopes of helping his friends get back on their feet. He says they did not have renter's insurance and lost many of their belongings in the fire.
Morgan says the main goals of this fundraising campaign are to "bring attention" to his friends' troubles and to provide "a good buffer for them until they can find a place to live.”
Two weeks after the fire, 164 people have joined the campaign and contributed a combined $10,765. Plus, the campaign has 519 likes on Facebook. There are also several messages of support on the campaign page's community section.
"Thank you for setting this up. My daughter lived in the building and is safe and sound but lost most of her stuff. I am so thankful no one got hurt!" writes Susan Denny.
The fundraiser's original goal was listed at $10,000, but Morgan says the point is really to get whatever will help them, rather than a set figure. Morgan says he did not know what to expect because he has never done something like this before, but he was pleasantly surprised by the response.
"It's really nice to see the community [come together to help them],” he said. “I'm just so happy it turned out the way it did."
Morgan tells the Guardian the fire opened his eyes to a bigger picture and realize how much help renter's insurance could be, in his opinion.
"It's something you don't really think about, but it makes a huge difference,” he said.
Morgan also pointed out that the fundraiser is only for the tenants of 1448 Valencia and not for those who lived at 1450 Valencia, which is in the same building. Anyone who made a contribution to the Rally but intended for their money to go to any former residents of 1450 Valencia should contact Daniel Morgan at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org and give your name and the amount you donated, and the money will go where you want it.
The fire also spread to other buildings in the surrounding area, resulting in more than $1 million in damages. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries, but no civilians were hurt, according to San Francisco Fire Department Public Information Officer Jeff Covitz. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.