The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 28, 2013

Social media helping Hinton fire victims

By Bill Archer
For The Register-Herald

HINTON — People throughout southern West Virginia are turning to Facebook to organize a relief effort for the 11 families that were left homeless as a result of an arson fire that destroyed the Brick Row apartment buildings in downtown Hinton.

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that a suspect, Billy Joe Gill, 25, of Hinton has been arrested on a charge of first-degree arson in connection with the fire that destroyed five downtown Hinton buildings. The buildings contained 10 apartments. Gill is being held in Southern Regional Jail in Beaver, on $200,000 bond.

Dr. Jerry Beasley, retired president of Concord University, posted on his Facebook page that the Hinton Area Foundation is working to help the victims who were made homeless as a result of the fire.

“All their belongings were burned,” Beasley posted. Local folks have arranged for them to stay for the next three nights in a nearby motel; while more permanent housing is sought. The senior center will provide meals for several days,” he wrote.

“The Hinton Area Foundation is accepting donations to help the victims. If you’re interested, please send your gifts to the Hinton Area Foundation at Post Office Box 217, Hinton, WV 25951.” Beasley is a native of Hinton, although he now lives in Athens. “I will se that your gifts are properly acknowledged and wisely used.”

In response to Beasley’s post on behalf of the Foundation, Catholic Charities of West Virginia posted that Hinton’s CC West Virginia Loaves & Fishes will be open at 10 a.m., this morning to assist with clothing and emergency food supplies. Catholic Charities has been serving the Hinton area since 1986.

— Bill Archer is a writer for The Bluefield Daily Telegraph