Fire Victims In Anderson Co. Still Displaced; Relief Effort Orga - WSPA.com

Fire Victims In Anderson Co. Still Displaced; Relief Effort Organized

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Fire destroys Azalea apartment complex Wednesday morning. Fire destroys Azalea apartment complex Wednesday morning.

Relief Agencies Join Forces to Help Apartment Fire Victims- August 17, 2013   

It's been days since an apartment fire displaced more than 35 families, sending them to live in a hotel next door. Agencies like the Red Cross have been helping the victims with immediate needs like food and clothing, more resources and more experts are required to get them the help they need.

This information comes from Brian Scoles, spokesperson for the Red Cross Western Carolinas Region. He said the effort is coming together Monday, where ministries, non-profits and emergency management teams will be able to better help the victims recover.

"Many don't have the resources to plan for how to recover so we want to make sure we have the experts that can help get these folks on the road to recovery as fast as possible," said Scoles.

Marvin Hare said Monday can't come soon enough for his family. His daughter and his grandson are struggling to survive. They lost nearly everything in the fire as their apartments suffered some of the worst damage.

"We lived here because we had to. It was inexpensive and it took both of our paychecks to survive. Now we need help finding something like that place," said Hare.

Many other residents share his struggle.

Darlin Bell and her friend Marvin Maddex were gathering dinner Saturday. Not sure how long the help would keep coming.

"We have no place to live and that's what were really concerned with. Food, clothes, it's a home we need," said Bell.

The agencies will meet up to help victims at Oakdale Baptist Church in Townville. 

It's located at 6724 Highway 24 Townville, SC 29689. Office Phone: 864.287.4455   Office Fax: 864.287.0597

Here are other ways you can donate:

The Salvation Army, 864-226-4344;

United Way of Anderson County, 864-226-3438;

Western Carolinas Red Cross, 864-271-8222. or at their website

Victims Get a Good Look at the Damage Thursday August 15, 2013

Dozens of families are searching for a new place to live after a fire ripped through an Anderson County apartment complex early Wednesday morning.

Investigators spent more than 12 hours sifting through the rubble at the Azalea Apartments on Nunnally Road near Highway 187.

They also searched through a motel room near the burned out apartment.

As the fire alarm blared in her apartment at 4:30 in the morning, Amber Lawless ran for her two most treasured possessions.

“I jerked my son out of his bed, and I jerked my daughter out of her bed and we were just running downstairs," said Lawless.

Now she's one of about 80 people with no place to live. She spent much of the day at a shelter the American Red Cross set up at a nearby church.

The fire started at 4:30 in the morning on the outside of a unit on the bottom floor and quickly spread.

Cody Carter helped save his neighbor's son from the second floor.

“I don't know, it just came over me, just help the man get his son. That's all that mattered," said Carter.

Five people were hospitalized -- one woman who broke her leg while trying to escape and four people with smoke inhalation.

Firefighters were able to contain the flames to just three units, but nearly the entire building has smoke damage.

“Had this building been sprinklered, I think the outcome would have been much different," said Anderson County Fire Chief Billy Gibson.

The apartment was built more than 30 years ago, before fire sprinklers became a requirement for any new apartments and hotels.

Gibson said, if there had been a sprinkler system, crews would have been able to wrap up work in just a few hours, and 37 families would be back home.

Instead, many of them are worrying if they'll be able to salvage their belongings.

For Lawless, it's the little possessions she left behind that matter the most right now.

“My daughter, she actually can't even see without her glasses, and they're there. And I didn't get no diaper bag, no clothes, no nothing," said Lawless.

Wallace Martell, who owns the apartment, has decided not to let his tenants back in to retrieve their belongings until Thursday morning.

Many of those people are staying at a nearby motel, waiting to see what's left of their homes.

Martell said he did not require his tenants to have renters insurance.

If you're renting an apartment and the building is destroyed, your belongings inside are not protected unless you have renters insurance.

More landlords are now requiring tenants to have renters insurance as a condition of the lease.

If you have auto insurance, going with the same company for a renters policy may save money. Choosing a higher deductible will help lower the premium.

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