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Community compassion for fire victims
Partridge Meadows resident Misty Ashmore stands among piles of clothes and other items donated to the fire victims. She says the community response has been reason to smile.

Boxes of diapers were on one table, while cans of green beans were across the room on the floor. Bags overflowing with clothes stretched out the door and onto the sidewalk. There were even a few toys.
That was the scene Monday at Partridge Meadows Apartments as the laundry room was transformed into an emergency collection site in the aftermath of Saturday night’s fire.
Eight families – most with children – were displaced by the blaze which ravaged the building in a matter of minutes. Partridge Meadows resident Shana Burger said the saw the destruction unfold from her apartment across the parking lot.
“My son came in and told me the apartment was on fire,” said Shana referring to her 5-year-old, Clyde. “We ran outside to look and saw the breezeway was in flames. We went back inside to get a fire extinguisher in hopes of putting it out, but when we came back outside we saw there was no way. It was engulfed. The fire was too much. It filled the breezeway. There was no way anyone could get out the doors. That’s why they were jumping out the windows. I never realized how quickly a fire can escalate like that. There was thick, black smoke everywhere.”
Everyone managed to escape, but only with the clothes on their backs. The one building which housed eight apartments is a total loss.
As the eight families try to shake off the numbness, there’s been an outpouring of support. The Partridge Meadows business office has been flooded with donations. The bulk has been clothing, but there’s been other odds and ends such as dishes, shampoo, and even a lamp.
“Everybody who lives here has pulled together, really the whole community has pulled together, to help these families,” said Partridge Meadows resident Misty Ashmore, who is overseeing collections. “It was very emotional that night. There were people who lost everything. There were people outside crying. But I’ve never seem people pull together like they’ve pulled together here. We’re very grateful.”
Ashmore was one of the volunteers who worked well into the night Saturday and into the early morning hours Sunday to provide immediate aid to the tattered families. The Red Cross was on hand to furnish short-term housing at area motels if needed. There’s only one family that doesn’t have other family members who live in this area, Ashmore said.
As for providing permanent housing, Partridge Meadows does not have any vacancies so the families will have to look elsewhere.
For anyone who would like to donate, Ashmore said there are still items which are needed. Those include:
• men’s pants with a 42-inch waist, 32-inch length
• men’s pants with a 36-inch waist, 32-inch length
• women’s size 7 and size 9
• baby clothes for a girl 12 months, and a girl 18 months
• clothes for girl size 8-10
• clothes for boy size 10-12
• diapers
Donations can be dropped off at Partridge Meadows on Oriole Drive.