Read Here

Several efforts are underway to help families whose homes were gutted Monday in a fire at a southern Jefferson County apartment complex.

The fire is believed to have started in an outlet in a second-story unit and quickly spread to seven other homes. All eight were a total loss, though firefighters fought to salvage anything they could from the units including Christmas presents.

Jassmine Binder said she was braiding hair when she smelled smoke and heard the smoke detector alarm sound. She grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to douse the blaze but to no avail.

When she realized it was beyond her control, Binder and others helped to evacuate their neighbors. One person at the scene was treated for breathing difficulty but no serious injuries were reported.

Roughly 55 to 60 firefighters responded to the blaze. They were able to contain it to half of the building.

“It’s always hard to lose your home but especially right here before Christmas,’’ said Rocky Ridge Fire Assistant Chief Michael Bartlett.

“Everything’s gone,’’ Binder said. “I don’t care about the material things. “They can be replaced.”

Friends have set up a GoFundMe to help Binder and her family.

“We want to help them get back on their feet after this terrible loss,’’ the GoFundMe reads. “This has caused emotional stress and financial cost.

In addition to seeking money, the GoFundMe states that clothing and shoes are also needed. Those are shoes in sizes 4.5 and 5.5; pants a size 1 in juniors and a size 9 and shirts in youth small and adult medium.

Monetary donations can be made here, and the GoFundMe provides a link to the organizer to coordinate clothing donations.
Additionally, Hatching Hope is also helping with relief efforts. Hatching Hope is an Alabama-based disaster relief/humanitarian aid non-profit that serves the southeastern U.S.

The group posted a list of needs on its Facebook page which including clothing items, toiletries, blankets, toys for children ages 3 through 13, and gifts for teen girls. The list can be found here.

Donations can be dropped off by noon Dec. 23 at The Lory at Hoover, 2149 Emerald Pointe Drive or the Marketplace by Hatching Hope at 2758 Pelham Parkway.