Community Comes Together to Help Centerton Fire Victims

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An apartment fire in Centerton Saturday afternoon left thirty-three people without homes.

The fire started around noon and was put out by eight different fire departments a little after 1 p.m.

Mayor Bill Edwards said the Red Cross was on scene an hour or so after the fire started to give aid to displaced families.

He said the community of Centerton quickly came to action.

The mayor opened City Hall on Saturday until 8 p.m., and he reopened it again Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for people who wanted to donate to the victims.

Bailey Berckefeldt was working when her apartment went up in flames, but said once she got the call her only thought was to get to her son.

"On the way there I was just hysterical, but the biggest relief was when we pulled up and the kids were safe. Yeah the fire was going, but my kid was safe," Berckefeldt said.

Berckefeldt said she didn't have renter's insurance and has no idea where she and her son are going to live.

The mayor said that over 500 people from all over Benton County have dropped off donations in the last 24 hours. He said when he got to City Hall this morning there were piles of trash bags of clothes outside the door waiting to be sorted.

"This has been a great outpouring. That's one thing about Centerton, if we need something the citizens always came through for us," Edwards said.

Berckefelt said she is amazed at the support.

"Thank God so many people in the community helped us like this, this is crazy," Berckefeldt said.

Angela Clark has been volunteering at City Hall since it opened Saturday. She said many people came by and asked what the needs were, then returned with the items.

"Once they started coming in and seeing that there were lots of clothing, they started saying OK what do you need, what do you need now?" Clark said.

Clark said they have received everything from clothes and shoes to toothpaste and toiletries.

The mayor said the outpouring of donations from the community has completely filled City Hall. He said that when community members started to bring in furniture and home goods, he had to turn to a local church to store the items.

New Song church opened its doors to donations. The mayor said displaced families will be able to come by April 17 or 18 to pick up bigger home items, but the location may change.

He said he will post updates to his Facebook page so people know where to go.

In the meantime, he encouraged people to continue to drop off donations to City Hall.



1 Comment

  • Mark Smith.

    Why do people donate clothes for disasters? Having volunteered, it became quickly alarming to me to see people donate unwanted clothes en mass. There were times when new clothes with store tags were donated but nothing provides those suffering with the flexibility to gain what they needed in keeping with their tastes than money. Otherwise, they have to sift through everything to find the. 5% they can actually use. They are tiered and emotionallybdrained. The last thing they want to do is worrk. Some people are generous of heart but not of head. Money is the answer. I’ve also worked in food pantries where those donating take on a haughty opinion in providing beans. You will do the most good by donating food you eat on a regular basis. Imagine receiving a steak or a dessert in place of beans. That will be inspirational and not a reminder of how down on ur luck you are. In other words while you’re giving food, galso give hope! Of course, if u eat beans and that’s all you can give, to are truly giving.

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