Knowing what it's like, family organizes drive to aid wildfire victims

CASTLE ROCK, Wash. - A family that knows all too well the emotional and financial pain of losing everything in a fire is working to help victims of the Taylor Bridge Fire in central Washington.

The fire is now 57 percent contained but it burned some 23,000 acres and dozens of homes. About 1,000 firefighters are still battling the blaze.

When Jennifer Tarragano heard about the fire raging three hours away she knew she had to help. So she called her parents.

"I said, 'There had been a fire in Cle Elum, Wash.' and he said, 'OK.' I said I was thinking we could do a clothes, furniture and toy drive," Tarragano said.

In 1996 the family lost their home to a fire.

"The fire started and that dog woke me up out of a sleep, licking my face, barking. I grabbed the dog and jumped out the back door as the roof was caving into our house," said Tarragano's father, Mike Mask.

And two years ago a blaze destroyed their garage.

Knowing what it's like to get support from strangers, they turned to the Castle Rock community for donations for the fire victims in central Washington. In less than a week the community pitched in to help their neighbors in need, donating piles of clothing, food and other items.

"We wanted to help people in our community, whether they're in our community or not, Cle Elum is in our state," Tarragano said.

They plan on driving with three trucks full of donations on Wednesday. They have plenty of clothes but if you have other items to donate you can still do that Tuesday at the below locations.

334 S.E. Roake Ave, Castle Rock
133 S.E. C St., Castle Rock
Bibs2Bloomers on Church Street in Kelso