McAllen ISD sets up donation drive

McALLEN – Melina Guillen was laying down when her phone began to ring off the hook.

At first she paid no attention to the phone calls as they were from a pesky cousin, sometimes Guillen admits like to bother her for no reason. But once she got out of bed, answered the phone and opened the door to her apartment at Abellon Condominiums Guillen saw the fire.

Her neighbor's apartment was ablaze and her apartment was beginning to catch fire. Quickly she yelled for her daughter, rushed her out before the flames could consume the apartment.

Guillen's daughter dashed out, to reach the stairwell they both needed to pass the flames.

“The moment my daughter passed a window, it blew up and flames began coming out,” Guillen said in Spanish.

Guillen thought for sure her daughter had been burned but after an inspection she was fine.

In the future Guillen said she will have a plan for her family's safety as well as a plan to have all her documents in one place in case an this happens again.

The 14 displaced families were temporarily housed at Lincoln Middle School. As of Tuesday only one family had not received accommodations to sleep somewhere other than a school gymnasium.

The main gymnasium at Lincoln was set up for donations. Student and staff volunteers from Rowe High School, Lincoln Middle School, De Leon Middle School, Castañeda Elementary and McAuliffe Elementary helped with the donation drive. The overwhelming support from the community has filled the gymnasium with clothes, shoes, diapers, toiletries and water. Other schools have opened because donations keep arriving.

“We literally had to stop because it was just massive,” Erika Garcia, a principal at Lincoln said. “It's very fortunate the community was able to respond the way that they did and we know the families are super grateful.”

There will be one more donation at Nikki Rowe high school July 12 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. More bottled water, diapers size 4-6, toiletries and baby wipes are still needed.

A gofundme page has been set up with a goal of $4,700. To donate visit www.gofundme.com/mcallen-community-apartment-fire.

For updates on donations visit the Lincoln Middle School Facebook page.