A former Bridlington man has lost his family home and almost all of his possessions in the devastating wildfires which have hit California.
Darren Hawkins was given just minutes to evacuate his home in Ojai before it was reduced to a pile of rubble and embers.
His relatives back in Yorkshire are urging old friends to donate to an online appeal which has been set up to support Darren, his wife Jenn daughter Riley and three-year-old son Harry.
Dad Graham told the Free Press: “I asked him what he had been able to save.
“He had got a few bags of personal possessions and was told to leave immediately. They only had five minutes.
“They were only about a quarter-of-a-mile away from where the fire started and they live in a wooded, mountainous area. 60mph winds were fanning the flames and it moved so quickly. They have lost their house, their garage and all their possessions.”
The 36-year-old, who used to work as lifeguard at Leisure World in Bridlington, moved to America 17 years ago.
Darren now works for a water company in California and he and his family are currently staying with Jenn’s friends in Ventura, around 20 miles away from Ojai, but Graham said it could be more than a year before they make any progress with their insurance claim.
“It must have been terrifying,” he added.
“But just imagine going back to your home and it not being there. The only clothes you have are the ones you are standing in.
“People over there are very community-minded and have helped so much but we don’t know what is going to happen. It is unbelievable.”
An online funding site set up by a friend in Ojai has raised $3,800 (almost £3,000) in just six days.
Darren’s sister Naomi said she was “heartbroken” and hoped people in Bridlington would show their support.
“He has nothing left of his home and we are all devastated,” she said.
“We are wanting to raise money for him and his family so they can buy clothes, food, toiletries, also maybe buy a few presents for Christmas as everything they had or owned has been destroyed.
“I’m hoping Bridlington can come together and support one of their own in a time of need.”
You can donate to the appeal for the Hawkins family at www.gofundme.com/4t9exm8