By Christie Post - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Victims from a West Lubbock apartment fire picked out the items they lost at the Salvation Army Monday.
The Twin Oaks Apartments caught fire Thursday after a stove left on sparked the flames. Fire officials said the fire was accidental. The blaze spread so quickly it left many residents with only the clothes on their backs and nothing more.
Days later more than 55 people affected were overwhelmed by the massive outpour of donations from the community. But the fire victims who lost everything could only get back some of what they need to get back on their feet.
"This is how we started in the thrift business back in 1991 was from an apartment fire, and the overwhelming support from the community then," said Captain Mike Morton, The Salvation Army.
Because of the massive amount of donations, the fire victims can get an unlimited amount of clothing, linens, housewares, kitchenware and toys. They picked out everything from shoes to hygienic items.
"I was able to find a couple of tennis shoes for all three of my girls, more socks, more pants and everything we needed. Yes that helped us out a lot," said Mallerie Villalobos, a fire victim who lost everything.
But the fire victims could only get one set of dishes, silverware, pots and pans, microwave, and televisions.
"It made us happy looking at everything that was here, some of this stuff is brand new," said Villalobos.
But the Salvation Army said more than anything they need help from volunteers to sort through the mounds of unsorted items.
"We thank the public for what they've done. We appreciate it, but let's shut off that water valve or we're going to have another disaster here with all of this stuff coming in," said Morton.
The non-profit even had an extra storage unit donated to hold the pile after pile of donated goods. But one need that has not been met for the fire victims is a place to call home.
"One of our volunteers, one of our workers is Lawrence Bontkie, he was also a fire victim, Lawarence is sleeping on a cot in a two bedroom apartment. So we are going to try and fix him up the same way that we're going to help everybody," said Morton.
The Salvation Army said they plan to spend $15,000, which they will get from the proceeds from the thrift store, to supply the victims with furniture, including two bedroom sets, a dresser and a couch. The victims can pick up a voucher Wednesday to get those items.
"We thank everybody for all of these donations. And all the people that are getting everything here, we thank everybody," said Villalobos.
In the meantime, victims can go through the sorted items everyday this week. The Salvation Army office on 1111 16th Street will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you would like to volunteer contact The Salvation Army at (806) 765-9434.
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