The Sam Houston Apartment Complex located on 20th street and S Ave. was destroyed Monday morning when lightning struck the complex and set it on fire. All three buildings of the complex were damaged and are currently inhabitable.
“We were speculating that lightning struck the building and now we are sure it was the culprit after talking to the residents,” said Huntsville Fire Department’s assistant chief John Hobbs.
Fire Officials said that the fire started around 4:30 a.m. after lightening struck the south side of the complex and moved north.
“We used master streams to put out the fire and had fire trucks at all four corners of the complex to keep the fire from spreading to other apartment complexes,” said Hobbs.
Over 30 families and several Sam Houston State University students were displaced by the fire. They either lost everything they owned or most of their belongings. Jana Folkers, manager of the company that owns the apartments, said that the families are being relocated to buildings managed by the same company in a two to three miles radius.
“There were no injuries from the fire and we are rapidly relocating the tenants to other buildings that I manage,” said Folkers.
For those students affected by the fire, SHSU has offered several services to aid those who are in need. If a displaced student needs another place to stay for any reason, Residence Life has reported that there are open rooms available for those students. A $200 deposit is required and a student can have a room at any time. The Dean of Student’s Office is offering absence memos to those students affected by the fire which inform the professors of the student’s situation. Students can pick up these memos with official documentation proving they lived in the damaged apartments and are encouraged to speak to their professor concerning their circumstances as well.
According to the Dean of Students Office, Kampus Korner Bookstore is also working with students to replace the books they lost in the fire. The Red Cross has already stepped in to lend a helping hand by giving out vouchers and gift cards to those residents who lost all of their belongings in the fire.
If you would like to help a fellow Bearkat in their time of need by donating items, fliers and donation boxes are located in local businesses such as International House of Pancakes, which inform of the student’s situation and how you can help.