Families Displaced by Apartment Fire Get Help from Community, Washington Football Stars

The Sterling families put out of their homes by an apartment building fire on April 30 are getting some help from the community and from some Washington Football Team greats.

According to Loudoun Fire-Rescue, 56 people were displaced from 20 apartments on Chase Heritage Circle. The fire drew a response from fire crews from six stations in Loudoun and Fairfax, as well as a number of Sheriff’s Office deputies who helped evacuate people from the apartment building.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy First Class Abdulah Rasooli was on patrol when he noticed smoke coming from the area. When he arrived, he found the top floor of the three-story apartment building ablaze, and ran inside to evacuate the building with the help of Carlos Zapata, a maintenance worker at the building.

Rasooli then continued to evacuate adjacent buildings, including a wheelchair-bound resident who he and Deputy First Class Brandon McGhee carried to safety. Firefighters and more sheriff’s deputies soon arrived to help evacuate the rest of the residents before the fire department knocked down the blaze. One civilian and three deputies were treated for smoke inhalation, but no major injuries were reported and all have been released.

The fire left those families, many low-income and without savings, with their belongings destroyed and looking for a home. The American Red Cross has put them in temporary accommodations. And some community organizations have rallied around them—Women Giving Back collected clothes, toiletries, and other items for the families, and New Virginia Majority has established a GoFundMe page to collect monetary donations for those impacted by the fire. The money will be distributed directly to families to use for their needs in the coming weeks, including food, clothes, and rent in their new homes.

Donations are at gofundme.com/f/funds-for-chase-heritage-fire-survivors; as of noon Friday, the campaign had nearly reached its $12,000 goal—more than double the original goal of $5,000.

And the families, many of whom have small children at Guilford Elementary School, will get some help from a few Washington Football Team standouts on Monday when cornerback Jimmy Moreland and NFL Hall of Fame member Darrell Green stop by the school with some gifts.

Additionally, the county government issued a call for help on Friday, asking property owners in the Sterling, Cascades, and Ashburn areas in need of tenants, or people aware of property owners searching for tenants, to contact the county. They can contact Christine Hillock, Community Development Specialist with the Office of Housing, with available housing options and suggestions, as well as for questions and more information by email at christine.hillock@loudoun.gov or phone at 703-771-5590.

April Taylor, organizer of the Catch A Meal Program, contacted the school to see how she could help, and within a week the Sterling community rallied to host an event for those families, planned for Monday. With support from Moreland and Green the families will be provided an undisclosed amount of financial support, along with an array of replacement items. And that support will also go into establishing the Guilford Elementary Pantry, which will be available to all of their students.

To find out how to help, contact Taylor at team@catchameal.org.

The Catch A Meal Community Relief Giveaway will be hosted with support from a broad array of organizations, also including Northern Virginia Food Rescue, the Loudoun Chapter of Moms Demand Action, Grace Covenant Church, the Loudoun League of Women Voters, the Fairfax County Policy Department Victim Services Division, the Ashburn Home Depot, the Sterling Office Depot, F22 Video Solutions, TPM Group and The SVE Firm.

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