Fire victims (center of photo) stopped by the Santa Paula Fire Department to receive checks from the Santa Paula Ministeria Association. The Santa Paula Fire Department was also involved by collecting clothes and other items for the victims. The community came to their help following a devastating fire on Dean Drive March 19. Photo by Don Johnson

Generous Santa Paulans collect clothing, donate funds for fire victims

April 12, 2002
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesGenerous Santa Paulans donated enough clothes to outfit entire families and a whopping $5,460 - plus a later donation of $250 - to those who lost their homes in the Monterey Condominium complex fire that destroyed six units on March 19.“It’s just beautiful the community really responded tremendously to help these people, I’m so glad,” said the Rev. Jose Vindel of El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church.The Santa Paula Ministerial Association, with assistance from the Santa Paula Fire Department, accepted the donations, an outpouring of community support for those who lost their possessions in the fire.“I know how generous Santa Paula is but even I was surprised, it was amazing,” said Acting Assistant Fire Chief Jerry Byrum. Station 1 was the drop-off place for material donations, and so much clothing and shoes came in that they filled the open spaces of the station, and contributors were rerouted to a second drop-off point.Rev. Vindel, Santa Paula Fire Department’s Chaplain 1, also gave thanks to the Red Cross, which “did a tremendous job of providing the displaced families with housing,” and other needs.
Monetary donations were received from Carol H. Piros, Mildred K. Behrenbruch and Abby Smith, as well as from El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church ($395), Abundant Life Church ($200), the Cardinal McIntyre Fund ($1,400), Saint Sebastian Church ($1,870), Santa Paula Ministerial Association ($50), Saint Sebastian School ($400) and Mexican American Chamber of Commerce ($1,050). A later donation ($250) came from the Universalist Unitarian Church and will be distributed to fire victims accordingly.Fire victim families received $780 plus the clothing, all delivered by the Rev. Vindel, at Fire Station 1. On Friday, the Rev. Vindel will use his day off to travel to Bakersfield to deliver three boxes of clothing, shoes and a check to Nelida Abris, who has two small children; the family was unable to find housing in Santa Paula after the fire.“Nelida and her children were home when the fire broke out,” a traumatic experience for the young mother and her small children, noted the Rev. Vindel.The other fire victim families who received the donations are Roger and Nancy Campos, Dorothy Vaughn, Rosalva and Javier Ramos, Maria and Juan Viveros, Adriana and Francisco Telles and Roy Powell; in all, 23 people were affected by the fire.The fire started when a resident of the 24-unit complex located on West Santa Barbara Street near Dean Drive was working on a truck; within minutes the fire spread into a common attic and destroyed four units, leaving two heavily damaged.

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