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CA Police Officer Helps Family Recover After Losing Everything in House Fire

Image Credit: ABC News
Image Credit: ABC News

A California police officer is making national headlines after helping the family of a suspect she arrested just days earlier.

In the process of trying to escape the police, a robbery suspect set fire to the home of his sister and little niece.

The suspect's sister, Mayra Varela and her 3-year-old daughter were left with nothing as a result of a house fire that ravaged their home on August 2. 

Fresno Police Officer Stacie Szatmari saw the devastation from the tragic incident and felt compelled to help Varela. 

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"The fire broke out and afterward, we had this family that was homeless," Szatmari told KFSN-TV. The officer gathered toiletries, clothing, and shoes for the family.

She even contacted the police department's chaplaincy service to make sure the family had a place to stay overnight and reached out to the Red Cross for help with longer-term shelter.

"It's the way I was raised. If someone is in need, you do what you can to help out," Szatmari explained.

Varela said the act of kindness reminded her of an unexpected gift on Christmas Day.

"It was like Christmas Day. She was bringing Christmas gifts," Valera said. "Some stranger just said, 'Here's everything you need for your family now'."

A GoFundMe was started to help the mother and daughter get back on their feet. So far, the effort has raised $2,020 of the $5,000 goal.

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