The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

February 26, 2013

Victims, families, community pull together to ensure safety during fire

(Continued)

HINTON —

He said he and his mother sought shelter in their van until the fire spread so badly they were forced to leave the parked vehicle.

“I lost everything but I’m OK right now. I’m staying with family,” he said.

For several people braving wind gusts and frigid rain early in the morning, many of whom had been up all night watching the firefighters at work, these recent fires bring back memories of a string of arsons in Hinton in 2009.

“It wasn’t too long ago arsonists nearly destroyed everything. It brings back memories of those fires. And I’ve had so many friends live in these houses over the years. I’ve spent a lot of time in them and it brings back memories of those times, too,” said Danny Fitzpatrick.

Katie Smith also recalled the 2009 fires and added, “Whoever did this deserves to be put away for a long time. There were several people in these apartments that had to be carried out. People could have easily been killed.”

­­Hinton Mayor Joe Blankenship said, “Our focus right now is on the victims and trying to find them homes and places to go. Many of them are lucky and have friends or relatives they can stay with. Currently REACHH Family Resource Center is helping to contact all victims and get them coordinated with the American Red Cross.”

“­My heart goes out to all these victims and our prayers go out to them. We hope and pray we can get them placed in homes by this evening,” he said.

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