Worth was there with the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) and students and firefighters stopped by for water and a snack. Only a few apartments had been badly damaged and we helped those folks as best we could. By the end of the day the Red Cross Team had worked with 22 students. Everyone had a place to stay and their next few days of food and shelter arranged. We only had to help out in a few special cases due to the resourcefulness of the students and the help of the Dean.
From Kevin & Sandy McCoy, Volunteers
It is just not meant to be. We were about to start our afternoon walk when Mario [Chapa, Staff Emergency Services Specialist] called. “We have another UT Student housing fire.”
Mario and Worth [Haggerton, Staff partner Services & Planning Specialist] had meetings and wanted to know if we could be downtown by 3:30 in order to wait for students returning from work or school.
We loaded up the Jeep with our gear and were on our way. The fire was at 2810 Rio Grande – only two blocks from the Student Housing Fire 4 days ago! This fire started at the join where two buildings had been built side by side. That created a thin void, and it was in this void where the fire started. The building was quite old but had been remodeled several times. A few apartments were damaged badly, and several others had water damage. Some vehicles were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and were also damaged.
By the time we arrived Mario had a damage assessment done and many of the students had been worked with. The Dean of Students at the university was very helpful in arranging for alternative housing, excuses for late assignments, etc. The housing complex was working very quickly as well to clear up the damage and start repairs.
The students spoke highly of the fire department for saving as much as they could and for how quickly they were able to get the fire under control. The fire department also had community support person at the scene. Some students were at school, and others were at work. So we stayed until students had been notified, and had time to make it back. They were allowed into the building to get their possessions, and we assisted the late arrivals that needed it.
Jaylie Mecray and her dad Jay Mecray live on Rio Grande Drive. They came by to see the fire trucks and we inducted Jaylie as our youngest volunteer and gave her a very official Red Cross Disaster Services Vest.
A job well done, and with all the student issues met, we closed the scene. Sandy and I are very grateful that no one has been injured in the two fires we have worked on this week. The students are very resourceful in making their own arrangements, and grateful for the assistance they receive.