HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — One day after an apartment fire at the Riverchase Landing Apartments, dozens of displaced residents are sifting through ashes — trying to put their lives back together.
The Hoover Fire Department tells CBS 42 that the fire started around 6:00pm Sunday night and that everyone escaped the burning structure safely. Much of the building, however, was destroyed. Including Bianca Goodman’s unit.
“[We lost] three bedrooms full of stuff. Some TVs,” says Goodman. “Pretty much everything.”
In Goodman’s stash of items saved, she has a painting, a paint set, some casette tapes, two small bins, and a CD with her brother’s music.
But that’s just about it.
“Well, it’ll help you downsize,” Goodman chuckles. Humorous in the face of hardship.
“You can see the devastation in their faces and the uncertainty, because they don’t know what they’re going to do or where they’re going to go,” says Matt Smith, the Vice President of the organization Hatching Hope. The organization specializes in helping those displaced by disaster.
Smith and his team were at the scene of the fire Sunday night, handing out supply kits. The kits include air-mattresses, toiletries, blankets etc. In total, Smith says that Hatching Hope handed out 30 kits.
Now that the night of the fire has passed, Smith tells CBS 42 that they are actiely seeking donations for their marketplace. He says that Hatching Hope accepts anything from clothes to toiletries, and will sell the items to displaced residents for a fraction of the retail cost. Then, the proceeds go back into creating more supply kits when disaster next strikes.
“[Our goal is to give them] a little piece of hope,” says Smith. “That’s our key thing. I think Thomas Carlisle said, ‘He who has hope has everything.'”
For Goodman, she is unsure of what to do next.
“My baby has got to go to school tomorrow, I have to go back to work, and we don’t have anything,” says Goodman. “We just have to replace everything, and that’s a lot of stuff to replace.”
In addition to Hatching Hope, both Church of the Highlands and the American Red Cross were on the scene assisting displaced residents. The American Red Cross tells CBS 42 that Jefferson County is one of the top 10 counties nationwide in terms of number of apartment and house fires on an annual basis.
The American Red Cross is accepting donations here.
Hatching Hope is accepting donations here.