Community organizations provide relief for Holleman Oaks apartment fire victims
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - The blaze that destroyed multiple units at the Holleman Oaks apartment complex has left residents without any of their belongings. Friday afternoon, The American Red Cross and other organizations hosted an event for residents in need.
The fire started on July 25 around 8:20 a.m., ultimately leaving 15 units uninhabitable and 30 residents homeless.
The American Red Cross, Grace Bible Church, St. Vincent De Paul, Junkyard Cowboys, SHIP Thrift Store and others gathered to help residents sort through donations.
Veronica Acarto, a Holleman Oaks resident, lost everything in the fire. At this point, she’s just happy she made it out alive.
“I was praying that I would make it,” said Acarto. “Just so I could see my daughter again. I mean I was on my balcony and that’s when I started screaming for someone to help me.”
Acarto said she jumped off the third floor of her complex. Although, she managed to escape the burning building with only a few scratches.
“I know I had a guardian angel that day. Even the EMS said I should’ve had some broken bones,” Acarto said.
With very little time to evacuate the building, Acarto told us she now mourns the loss of all of her belongings in the fire.
“We had stuff in there that was, you know, you can’t replace,” said Acarto. “Like stuff from my grandma, my daughter has stuff from her dad. It’s just hard and crazy.”
In one of the darkest times in her life, she said she is forever grateful for the community and all their support.
“I mean, people that don’t even know me are calling people in my family. Asking, ‘Hey can I help you? Hey, what do y’all need?’ You know It’s beautiful how God has everyone working together.”
Sariana Amedo, Property Manager at Holleman Oaks, said she’ll do whatever it takes for the residents to get back to their normal lives.
Amedo said it was extremely important to take donations at her office after seeing firsthand what this fire did to her residents. That’s why was a huge part in the donation event with other organizations at Grace Bible Church on Friday afternoon.
“They are allowed to get anything they want. It’s first come first serve. We’re not limiting anyone obviously. We do have baskets set aside for each tenant with cleaning supplies,” said Amedo.
Amedo said the residents at Holleman Oaks are like family to her and her team.
“Without these people, we wouldn’t have a job,” said Amedo. “So, we’re just trying to put ourselves in their position.”
The American Red Cross is no longer collecting donations at the leasing office of Holleman Oaks after being overwhelmed with the volume of donations from the community. Those who would still like to help out, The American Red Cross suggests reaching out to the residents individually for their specific needs.
For Veronica Acarto and her daughter’s Go-Fund-Me, click here.
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