Fire victim says he is forever grateful

Fire Survivor

In the early morning hours of Aug. 27, building seven of the Ashely Lane Apartments on South Oliver went up in flames. The fire burned for several hours as the firefighters worked tirelessly to put the flames out. Nearly 50 apartments were affected, leaving residents homeless. This is Keith’s story.


It was a warm morning early Aug. 27 when I awoke to pounding on my front door and people yelling, “Fire! Get Out!” My wife and I have medical issues and are not able to move very fast. My wife grabbed her purse and we both left the apartment with the help of the firefighters and neighbors.


I wanted to go back in to get a few of my belongings but was not allowed to.


I was sitting by the side of the road along with my neighbors watching our life’s mementos go up in flames; the fire was a deep bright orange and the smoke swirled up to the sky. At that time we all knew our lives had forever changed.


Some were angry, some watched in tears, others were in disbelief; we were now considered homeless.


The word was spreading that the Sharon Baptist Church was opening their doors to those affected by the fire and we began our way there. Shortly after the church opened their doors, we noticed people with Red Cross vests arriving. I knew help was here and we would not be alone in this nightmare.


Water and snacks were provided and the Red Cross workers were taking our information and listening to our concerns, and providing comfort for us. A couple hours later the Red Cross announced that a shelter was opening at a school down the street; the church provided the transportation to get there. Upon arrival, we were greeted with a warm smile and they assessed our needs. We let them know we lost our medication and oxygen supplies. Immediately the nurse took care of our medical needs, and within a short amount of time, oxygen and medical supplies arrived.


The shelter was clean, safe and a place where we could lay our heads. The Red Cross provided us with meals and snacks. The workers were very friendly, courteous and helpful. I do not know what we would have done without them.


The Red Cross helped my wife and I find a new place to live and gave us referrals to other agencies to help us move forward.


I am forever grateful.