6/17/2013 5:03 PM
by Karen Franklin
HINTON - More than $27,000 collected for the victims of February's Hinton fires has been distributed to affected families.
Mary Lou Haley, of the Hinton Area Foundation, told WOAY that the money, collected from all over the country, was dispersed between ten families. Their homes and belongings were burned in what is believed to be an act of arson.
"When you have a fire, and it's so devastating, everything is gone, so you really have to start from scratch like building a whole new life," Haley said.
The HAF said all of the families are living in their new homes or apartments and have purchased large furniture items and appliances.
A few hundred dollars recently donated will be saved for future fire victims in Hinton.
The destroyed apartments are set to be demolished within the next few weeks, according to Andrew Monti, who owns eight of the 10 apartments.
Monti told WOAY next week a contractor is set to demolish one unit, which has a separate owner. He says many have agreed that apartment must go first because of its proximity with a neighboring house.
"If we do ours first, the whole place will probably come down -- like really a lot of the place might come down when they do it -- but they have the most responsibility because they're next to the other house," he said.
As soon as the first step is made, Monti said he will demolish his apartments immediately.
"We've got to get this down. I understand the paperwork, but bricks are already falling by themselves," he said.
Monti says he's thinking about creating a senior garden in place of the burned apartments.