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Calif. cop buys gifts, essentials for family who lost home to arson

“It was like Christmas Day. She was bringing Christmas gifts”

By Suzie Ziegler

FRESNO, Calif. — A Fresno woman lost nearly everything when an arson suspect – her own brother – torched her apartment.

“I have a 3-year-old. I’m the head of the house. l do everything I can, I work overtime to see them smile,” Mayra Varela, 27, told KFSN.

It was devastating. That’s why one cop decided to give Varela a helping hand.

According to KFSN, Sgt. Stacie Szatmari with the Fresno Police Department was on call the night that Gerardo Varela allegedly reduced his sister’s home to rubble.

“The fire broke out and afterwards, we had this family that was homeless. It’s hard to see a family go through this,” Szatmari told reporters. She decided to help. According to KFSN, Szatmari gathered toiletries and bought the family new clothes and shoes.

“It was like Christmas Day. She was bringing Christmas gifts. Some stranger just said, ‘Here’s everything you need for your family now.’” Varela said.

The mother says she’s grateful to Szatmari for helping her family get back on their feet.

A GoFundMe has been set up for the family.