By Melanie J. Knox, Opinion Editor
One of the worst fires in Abilene history left 70 families homeless as it whipped through the 2121 Apartments at 3 a.m. Sunday morning.
Lisa Leinbaugh, Aramark’s catering supervisor, lived in the apartments, and she and her two children are now staying with her mother-in-law.
Leinbaugh left all her belongings in the apartment, but neither she nor her children were harmed.
Rosendo Contreas, freshman biology major from Abilene and Jonathan Hanley, a former ACU student now attending Cisco, both lost their homes as well. Neither was available for comment.
Residents reported hearing short popping sounds before smelling smoke and seeing the fire, but the cause of the fire is unknown.
All residents escaped in time, and the fire officials reported only one injury: a woman with a broken arm.
However, KTAB-TV News reported that most families escaped with only the clothes on their backs.
Fueled by strong winds, the three alarm fire left only the eastern- and western-most units standing, and took fire-fighters three hours to get under control.
Damage estimates are not complete, but the Abilene Reporter-News reported that the structure itself is valued at $1.1 million.
Donations were made in the Campus Center Monday to assist Leinbaugh’s family, but Rita Harrell, administrative coordinator of the Volunteer and Service Learning Center, said that nothing official has been organized among the students to help the other victims.
Students wishing to help with donations can contact Jamie Jimenez of Trio Services at ext. 2667.
The Red Cross set up a service station at the Quality Inn and is currently seeking apartments to use for the victims.
Donations to the Red Cross can be made by calling 677-2622 or by visiting www.redcross.org.
The Salvation Army is also in need of help sorting and receiving donated items. They can be contacted at 677-1408.
Local news reports contributed to this story.