DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Fire swept through an apartment complex in southeast Dallas early Tuesday, destroying plans for a charity that was set to provide toys and food for needy families this Christmas. The two-alarm blaze began at about 12:30 a.m. near the intersection of Jim Miller Road and Great Trinity Forest Way.
Fire crews said that flames and smoke were pouring out of the Asante Apartments community center and office building when they first arrived at the scene. Dallas Fire-Rescue was able to knock down the blaze, but the damage was devastating for a local charity that was planning a Christmas event for Tuesday.
Quest 4 Greater Success was supposed to have a Christmas celebration on Tuesday, with gifts and food for 54 families. Those presents and meals were all being stored inside of the apartment complex’s community center. The donated items are now all gone, burned away by the fire.
This is the third year that Quest 4 Greater Success has helped residents at the low-income apartment complex.
The organization is now asking for the public’s help to try and replace the items that were destroyed on Tuesday. “My kids, my babies, are going to want those toys and our food. Our food pantry is gone,” said Assata Thomas with Quest 4 Greater Success early Tuesday. “We are going to ask the community, help us out so that we can still help give them a Christmas.”
Contact the nonprofit organization if you would like to donate food items or toys. Quest 4 Greater Success is also set up in the parking lot of the nearby Janie C. Turner Recreation Center, located at 6424 Elam Road in Dallas. They will be at this location for the rest of the week, and gifts will be distributed on Saturday.
“It was heartbreaking. This is more than a building,” Thomas explained later Tuesday morning. But some people have already started to arrive with more donations for the families who are in need. “I’m very hopeful and very confident. The community is already reaching out to us.”
Meanwhile, crews are still investigating what might have caused the fire. Fortunately, nobody was injured or displaced. Some residents watched as flames ripped through the office building. “We came outside to see what was going on,” added apartment complex resident Shyjada Phillips. “I’m hoping people will come out to support the kids.”
Dallas City Council member Tennell Atkins is asking people to help the non-profit by donating new toys for the families at the Janie C. Turner Recreation Center.
The toy drive will begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, December 13, and continue through Friday, December 15.
The toys will then be donated to the original families in need on Saturday, December 16, at Asante Apartments beginning at 9 a.m. to noon.
The hope is to get enough toys to replace those that were lost.