Apartment Fire Survivor Loses Everything…Finds Hope

 “I need you to grab whatever you can and get out because YOUR BUILDING IS ON FIRE.” 

Hildo Garcia was awakened by shouting outside of his apartment on February 1. When he looked out his window, he thought he saw flames. As he started down the steps of his building to investigate, he was met by a police officer who told him, “I need you to grab whatever you can and get out because your building is on fire.” 

If you’ve never been faced with a situation like that — and I pray you never will be — the urgency makes it very difficult to think clearly. Survivors often tell us how helpless and afraid they felt in those moments. 

Heeding the officer’s advice, Hildo rushed back upstairs to grab a suitcase that still had some clothes packed inside. Once he was back outside, he could see smoke across the roofline of his apartment. 

Later that morning, after the fire was fully extinguished, Hildo was allowed back into his apartment, but nearly every single thing was lost to smoke, fire, or water damage. 

When starting over after a fire, it can take months to get your mind accustomed to the fact that everything you once owned was lost in an instant. You reach for your watch . . . your favorite frying pan . . . your best set of bed sheets . . . but they’re all gone. Of course, precious photos, and family mementos can’t be replaced, but with the help of friends like you, ADRN can assist survivors with the basics to get them on their feet again. 

When we met with Hildo, he told us that the Red Cross assisted him in replacing the medications he lost in the fire and put him in touch with ADRN. He told us how hard it was to see all the devastation and loss as he picked through the rubble in his apartment trying to find anything that was salvageable. 

“The thought of how I was going to get through this did cross my mind,” he said. “But looking at the people that were helping me at that time, I thought, this gives me hope. There is still humanity out there that brings communities together when you have a disaster. I can’t thank you guys enough for everything that you have done.”

He adds, “We prayed…and [you] provided a Bible because I lost mine in the fire. You provided some gift cards to the grocery store and thrift store, which was very helpful in getting the other things that I needed.”

There's no words to express the gratitude that I feel for everything that's been done. I thank you [ADRN] for your organization, and for what you stand for, and for everything that you all do.

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