HEARNE, Texas — Eight families totaling 33 people are displaced after the Columbus Village apartments caught fire early Sunday morning.
“We’re holding up,” resident Matthew Castillo said. “Just taking it one hour at a time today.”
Hearne police say fire departments from Hearne and the surrounding cities responded to a fire at 4:20 this morning. One building was fully engulfed, and the building next to it soon caught fire.
There are no reported injuries. Despite the loss of material items, the residents say safety is all that matters.
“I just gotta thank God,” resident John Higgins said. “Everything is materialistic, and it can be replaced. A life can’t. So I’m just glad everybody is out alright, and everybody is safe and sound.”
Castillo said he woke up to sirens, and when he opened the door, he knew what was going on.
“It’s like when you hear everybody scream, and you don’t know if anybody’s hurt or if everybody’s safe or not,” Castillo said.
He said an experience like this has opened his eyes.
“Take it one day at a time,” Castillo said. “Life is short, and it can be gone just that quick.”
Higgins has been living at this apartment complex for 22 years, and says the people in the building are family.
“Just pray for my hood,” Higgins said. “Give condolences to the families that lost everything.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The Heart of Texas Red Cross said Columbus Village has vacant units that are being made ready for the families to move into.
Red Cross is providing immediate assistance and financial aid for those affected to get a hotel room for the next 72 hours if needed.
Many of the residents said they lost everything, so anything helps. They said they are thankful for the community stepping up to already give support.
Many of the residents have GoFundMe pages set up on the links below.