RIALTO -- When Sandra Moreno, a mother of two young children who is going through a divorce, heard a Home Depot delivery truck roll up to her home Sunday, she could barely contain her tears.Delivery people and several Rialto firefighters unloaded a new washer and dryer for Moreno after a fire destroyed her appliances Saturday night.
"I can't believe they would do this for me," she said.
"I still get emotional just thinking about what they did for me and my family. "
Firefighters were called out to Moreno's home in the 400 block of West Orchard Street on Saturday evening after reports her garage was filled with smoke. Firefighters quickly determined the fire was caused by Moreno's dryer.
"Dryer fires are common, and we respond to them on a regular basis," said Matt Payne, a spokesman for the Rialto Fire Department.
The crew quickly extinguished the blaze and, as is customary, talked to Moreno.
"While we interviewed her we learned she was a single mother with two kids," Payne recalled. "She began crying and told us she didn't have the money to replace the dryer. "
Moreno remembered being overwhelmed at the prospect of having to come up with several hundred dollars to purchase a new dryer.
"I kept thinking I have lawyer fees to worry about, and right now we're barely making it," she said. "There was no way I'd be able to get a new dryer, and I just started crying. "
Moved by the situation, the firefighters spoke among themselves and decided to try to find a replacement dryer for Moreno and her children.
"I couldn't really believe it when they told me that night," she said in a phone interview. "I was so grateful. "
The firefighters contacted Rialto Firefighters Local 3688 Union representatives about donating the money to purchase the new appliance for Moreno, and the representatives agreed it was the "right thing to do," Payne said.
That night, Moreno, who had dropped off her children to spend the weekend with their father before the blaze started, spent the night at her mother's home because of the heavy smell of smoke in her home.
But the 33-year-old mother said she couldn't sleep and was still thinking about the fire.
The next day, Moreno received a call from firefighters letting her know they were going to be delivering her new dryer.
"Then when they told me they had a washer for me, too, I didn't know what to think," she said.
As the same firefighters who responded to Moreno's home were at the Rialto Home Depot looking for a new dryer, the store managers decided they wanted to donate money to help purchase a matching washer.
There was even enough money left to give Moreno two gift cards to Kohl's and Old Navy to help replace the clothing the fire had ruined.
"What they all did for me and my kids is amazing," Moreno said. "I can't even put into words what this means for me and my family right now. I used to be one of those people that thought, 'They're doing their jobs and God bless them for doing it, but it's just a job.' Now I know that they really are great people who care, and I am truly blessed for what they did. "