D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The shock is still fresh for the fire victims. Those who lost everything in that devastating blaze are now left with the enormous task of starting all over. Fortunately, they didn't have to go far for help.
Jessica Evans pulled into the Arbor View Apartments in D'Iberville with an SUV loaded with donations for the victims of Tuesday's fire. Like so many people, she was moved to tears by the scenes she saw on WLOX.
"Heartbreaking, very heartbreaking," Evans said. "I was talking to one of the young ladies right now and I couldn't imagine myself in a situation like this."
DeAnna Cannette is Arbor View's property manager.
"I don't think I have any more tears," she said. "My heart just completely goes out to them, it is definitely a total loss."
A loss that happened so quickly. Nobody knows that more than Marvin Sanchez. He told us he was the first to notice smoke rising from an apartment below him.
"Opened the front door and there was smoke started filling up quick and I just grabbed as many things as I could," Sanchez remembered. "Went down stairs, called 911, went back up and started banging on doors trying to get people out, and grabbed a couple of kids and took them out."
Sanchez and his girlfriend lost just about everything they owned.
"It was surreal," Sanchez said.
His first step toward recovery is applying for emergency assistance with the American Red Cross.
"It was like you were there one day ago and now you're left pretty much without a place now," he said.
The Red Cross didn't have to provide shelter for the displaced residents because the apartment complex actually found them a place to stay, either at sister properties in Biloxi and Gulfport, Keesler housing for those in the military, or at nearby hotels.
"Some people have never experienced a loss of this magnitude," Cannette said. "It breaks my heart. Some people say this has got to be a headache; it's not a headache, it is a heartbreak."
A Gulfport church is spear-heading a drive to help the families affected by the fire. Michael Memorial Baptist Church set up a donation site at the D'Iberville Civic Center. Throughout the day people from across the Mississippi Coast dropped off clothing, toys, personal hygiene products and baby supplies.
The church also brought in a trailer of clothes and other items, and several volunteers were busy sorting them.
If you'd like to help, go to Facebook and type in either Arbor View relief or Arbor View apartment homes. Those phrases will take you to Facebook pages created after the fire. You can also visit arborproperties.com and learn more about what assistance you may be able to provide.