State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Support for Waupelani Drive Fire Victims Going Strong

by on July 10, 2013 7:15 AM

P.J. Mullen has seen parents break down and cry, right in the B94.5 Station office. Since Friday, the radio station has been collecting donations for people who lost everything in a Fourth of July fire that devastated an apartment complex on Waupelani Drive. 

A fundraiser was held at the State College Spikes game Tuesday night. By the time the game started at 7 p.m., a pickup truck was filled with much-needed supplies. 

Three volunteers stood beside the truck which was covered in food donations, clothes, toys and other goods. 

"Things are going very well. We're happy with the turnout," says Sean McDermott, an intern at B94.5. "I don't know if these people really know [the victims] that well, but still, it's a community, and the response is awesome."

McDermott says they received "truckloads and truckloads" of donations on Friday night, when the first fundraiser was held at Tussey Mountain. The quick response hasn't slowed, and the volunteers say they plan to continue collecting whatever they can to help the families affected by the fire at the Waupelani Heights apartment complex. 

Supplies are being distributed to the fire victims and that will continue until they have all or more than they need.

People have donated cribs, brand new clothes, gift cards and more. One Penn State graduate in Hawaii sent $200. Mullen, the program director at B94.5, says the response to the fundraising efforts by the local community has been "amazing." 

"Happy Valley never ceases to amaze me. This is just another example of someone getting knocked down and the community picking them back up," Mullen says. 

Support has come in from across the country. Mullen has been in contact with at least 11 families. He says those people have been through a lot and they're grateful for the help.

Mullen plans to coordinate his radio station's efforts with the Salvation Army to make things "a little more official."

Flames roared through an entire building at the Waupelani Heights apartment complex on Thursday. The three-alarm fire damaged or destroyed 19 nineteen units, leaving dozens of people homeless. Firefighters arrived just after 8:00 p.m. and worked late into the night to put out the flames. 

The fire marshal has not determined the cause of the fire. 

Related coverage:

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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