UPDATE: Entire neighborhoods have been burned to the ground in parts of California. Red Cross volunteer Cord Laster joined the Southeast Tennessee chapter in Santa Rosa last week to help.

"You can go out into these communities and just see the devastation and realize that everyone has lost their entire livelihood," says Laster.

He's been in charge of coordinating emergency response vehicles and drivers. He's also been working with local volunteers in order to pinpoint areas where resources are needed the most.

"They want people in the community, that live here, to be able to go out with us and show us areas that may need more assistance," explains Laster.

He says it's been very emotional to see so many lives changed because of the devastating fires.

"It's hard to take in," adds Laster. "Talking to the people and hearing their stories."

He recalls one man who was unable to get his daughter's prosthetic legs out of their house as it burned down. When they were allowed to go back they saw everything had been destroyed, except the girl's prosthetic legs. It was one bright spot in an otherwise dark situation.

"He {the father} was just crying and it was an emotional moment," adds Laster.

He says volunteering has been a humbling experience, enduring long hours and restless nights. But doing good for others is worth the sacrifice when helping people who have lost so much.

"Being able to do that and see that you're putting a smile on someone's face, that makes it worth it," says Laster.

He'll finish his two week deployment Friday. Tuesday night the U.S. senate approved disaster relief worth more than $36 billion dollars to help states and territories devastated by wildfires.


ORIGINAL STORY: A local Red Cross volunteer, who deployed to California to help with the wildfires, shared his story with Channel 3 about the horrific conditions residents are facing.

Cord Laster has been in Santa Rosa for almost two weeks now. 

He decided to volunteer a month ago after seeing the devastation of the hurricanes and wildfires on television. 

Laster is in charge of coordinating the day to day operations of the emergency response vehicles. He says it's been an eye-opening experience

"There are days that you feel like you are having a bad day and you can go out into these communities and see the devastation and realize that everyone has lost their entire livelihood," Laster tells Channel 3. "So, you know being able to do that and then see that you are putting a smile on someone's face makes every bit of it worth it."

READ MORE | Bipartisan Senate bill aims to prevent Western wildfires

Laster says he will be flying back to Chattanooga at the end of the week.