Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Heart-Filled District Response To A Big Apartment Fire

Spring Branch ISD employees holding department badges of all types responded immediately to community needs after a wind-driven fire gutted 60 housing units at the Gentry House Apartments on Kempwood late Tuesday afternoon.

No resident was injured in the three-alarm blaze, but three firefighters received medical attention – two were overcome by heat and one suffered a twisted ankle.

From SBISD’s many Operations teams, to Transportation and Police, Child Nutrition Services, Community Relations and Crisis Counseling Team members, this district joined church and other community groups in helping hurting apartment families.

Edgewood Elementary School, 8757 Kempwood, was designated an American Red Cross shelter Tuesday evening.

Within hours of the sweeping fire, Edgewood Elementary School opened its closed summer doors to families who could not return to their apartments. The victims included some SBISD employees and students of all ages. Almost 300 students live in the Gentry House Apartments. 

Last night, more than 30 apartment residents slept at Edgewood Elementary’s Red Cross shelter. Regular daily meals and snacks are being provided as the Red Cross case managers work with affected families today and in the days ahead on housing and other needs.

Just a few of the incredible actions taken last night by SBISD employee groups:
  • Operations Team supported opening up the American Red Cross Shelter at Edgewood, from arranging for air conditioning needs to assisting in shelter room set-ups, cleaning by personnel and building security actions.
  • SBISD Police secured the building and staffed it overnight and today.
  • Transportation Dept. called in bus drivers last evening to help move Gentry House residents, including the disabled, from the fire scene to Edgewood’s nearby shelter.
  • Child Nutrition Services provided water on-site and coordinated daily meal planning and needs with Red Cross officials on-site.
  • Edgewood Elementary’s teaching staff joined with SBISD administrators, principals and assistant principals on site to help with tasks from language translation to providing coloring books to keep children occupied.
  • Concerned community members delivered everything from hot pizza to doughnuts, and clothing of all kinds, colors and sizes.
SBISD’s big outreach to these families in need was matched by many community partners, including, St. Jerome’s Catholic Church, and Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM) and the Westside Homeless Partnership.

Current donation options include the following:
  • Direct donations should be made to American Red Cross at or by phone at 1-800-RED-CROSS.
  • Donations can be earmarked for fire assistance through the Spring Branch Education Foundation HERE or by phone at 713-251-2381.
  • School supplies, uniforms and similar items as well as Walmart or other store gift cards may be donated directly to Edgewood Elementary School, 8757 Kempwood. Please coordinate these donations through Edgewood’s Community in Schools (CIS) staff member Sonya Ramirez.
  • St. Jerome Catholic Church, 8825 Kempwood, has partnered with Red Cross by moving all initial clothing donations to its nearby church campus.
  • Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM) supports families in coordination with the American Red Cross. Reach MAM by phone at 713-468-4516 or through its website at
SBISD’s dynamic response last night to the fire at the Gentry House Apartments is a true display of the Spring Branch Way – our Core Values in action.

1 comment :

  1. This is a heart-warming response of a whole community to a disaster. God bless everyone.


Do you have feedback? Tell us.