Community helps families after fatal fire - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Community helps families after fatal fire

A memorial sits outside the burned out building where two people died Saturday night in Hampton A memorial sits outside the burned out building where two people died Saturday night in Hampton

by Danielle Wagner

HAMPTON (KWWL) The latest fatal fire happened Saturday afternoon in Hampton. The two victims are 25-year-old Mackenzie Blandau and 22-month-old Luis Garcia. Community members tell KWWL Blandau doesn't live where the fire took place, but was babysitting at the time.

Now, brightly colored stuffed animals line the front steps of the burned house. Heather Holm lives down the street. She was in her vehicle with her son at the time of the fire. She remembers seeing smoke and pulling over.

"Just as we were getting out of the van, what looked like a rug coming out of the window was actually a woman," said Heather Holm.

Holm said neighbors across the street called 9-1-1 and used a ladder to try to get people out.

"One of the neighbors was on the roof trying to get people out too. Yeah, there was people all over trying to help. Just people driving by stopping and helping," said Holm.

Holm is organizing a donation drive for the families who are now homeless. Community members say 15 people lived in the four apartments.

Holm said people have donated lots of clothes and toys, but still need gift cards, furniture, pots and pans and other household items.

"We are a small community and when something like this happens the community comes together and is more than willing to help," said Holm.

Alicia Rodriguez knew several of the families affected and Mackenzie Blandau, who died in the fire.

Rodriguez is hosting a benefit Friday, February 20 at her bar, the Coconut Lounge, to raise money.

"Everybody's just in shock about what had happened. We've had fires in Hampton, but nothing like on Saturday," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez lost her home in a fire nearly three years ago. She knows how hard it is and wants to help however she can.

People are asked to take small donation items to St. Patrick's Church in Hampton and larger items to the Coconut Lounge.

Money to help pay for deposits and rent for new places to live is also needed.

The benefit this Friday is at the Coconut Lounge in Hampton. Doors open at 7 p.m.

A $15 cover and other proceeds will help the families affected by the fire.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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