• 55°
franklin county times

After the Fire' program aims to help victims

By Staff
AFTER THE FIRE n Jimmy Hoffer, left, and Meridian Fire Chief Bunky Partridge, stand in front of the van that will be converted to rescue victims "After the Fire." Photo by Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Nov. 30, 2000
It's 3 a.m. and the fire is finally out.
As the fire engine drives away, family members, still in their pajamas, stand in the puddled front yard, looking at the pile of ashes and debris they used to call home.
They have insurance, but the parents are in shock and not thinking clearly enough to make a phone call. The children are too upset to cry. No one knows where to turn.
The story is typical of families who lose everything in house fires, said Meridian Fire Chief Bunky Partridge.
Tired of leaving families with devastation and no help, Partridge and Fire Safety Educator Jimmy Hoffer initiated a new program to bring help to victims of fire.
Hoffer, who has been named program mediator, said he will also help victims with getting initial help by directing them to the right agencies, even accompanying victims to agencies to help.
To carry supplies, firefighters are converting a formerly used rescue van into an After the Fire van with shelves and equipment. Hoffer said he will ask for donations and support from area building supply businesses and other merchants for wood, hardware, clothing, hotel rooms and food.
The program is officially scheduled to begin Jan. 1, but Hoffer said anyone who needs help now can benefit.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@meridianstar.com.
Interested in helping?
Area merchants who wish to donate goods, or residents who wish to donate money to victims "After the Fire," can do so by calling Jimmy Hoffer at 485-1824.