By Chloe Aiello
It turns out money can fight fires.
Celebrity couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West hired a team of contract firefighters to combat the Woolsey Fire as it burned its way toward their home in the star-studded city of Calabasas, Calif. TMZ reported that the team came armed with fire hoses, dug ditches to create an obstacle for the fire, and was ultimately successful in saving the $60 million home.
Elizabeth Wagmeister, co-host of Page Six TV, told Cheddar on Tuesday the maneuver wasn't as selfish as it sounds. In saving the West home, the private firefighters also saved much of the surrounding neighborhood.
"Their home is at the end of the cul de sac, which is near brush, so if a fire had hit their actual property ー their home ー and their home went up in flames, the entire street would have gone up in flames, because it would have created a sort of domino effect," Wagmeister said.
"So, by hiring personal firefighters they actually saved the entire street if not more of Hidden Hills."
But not everyone was so lucky. Miley Cyrus, Gerard Butler, and Robin Thicke are among the celebrities who lost their homes to the deadly blazes sweeping the West coast.
Cyrus on Monday wrote on Twitter that the home she shares with fiancée Liam Hemsworth had been leveled, but that she and her loved ones were safe.
"Completely devestated (sic) by the fires affecting my community. I am one of the lucky ones. My animals and LOVE OF MY LIFE made it out safely & that’s all that matters right now. My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family & friends stand strong," she wrote.
Lady Gaga was similarly forced to flee her Malibu home ー which was later spared from the fire. To show her appreciation for first responders and her compassion for fire victims, she made a surprise stop at a Red Cross shelter, according to TMZ, to boost the spirits of evacuees.
Others, too, have used their platforms to spread awareness and fundraise for victims of the fire ー something Wagmeister calls " the great thing about Hollywood."
"A lot of people can look at Hollywood and say, 'Celebrities, they live in this unrealistic world,' but the great thing is when you see Hollywood come together and use their power and use their platform to not just raise awareness, but raise money," she said.
The death toll rose to 44 on Tuesday from the Camp and Woolsey fires, which together with the Hill Fire have burned close to 226,000 acres across California and destroyed an estimated 7,200 structures, according to CalFire. The Camp Fire has been declared the most destructive fire in California's history, having reduced the town of Paradise to rubble.