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Rebuilding lives after Timber Ridge fire

The+Timber+Ridge+fire+impacted+the+lives+of+several+USA+students.
The Timber Ridge fire impacted the lives of several USA students.

The Timber Ridge fire impacted the lives of several USA students.

Briana Cunningham

Briana Cunningham

The Timber Ridge fire impacted the lives of several USA students.

Shannon Lundgren, Editor-in-Chief

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Five USA students lost their homes and belongings in a fire at Timber Ridge Apartments on April 23, according to USA Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Michael Mitchell.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined and property damages are estimated to be approximately $3.5 million, according to Mobile Fire and Rescue Capt. Steve Huffman.  No injuries were reported and all pets were saved, according to Fox 10.

USA has collected more than $500 for each student as part of an emergency fund, Mitchell said. 

USA student Emily Shelton, senior, was in her home when her building caught on fire.  A neighbor knocked on her door to let her know the complex was on fire, according to Shelton.

Shelton’s roommate, USA student Sierra Nash, was at the beach when the fire broke out. Shelton called her roommate, to offer to grab some important items.

“I basically just had enough time to grab some important things and put my shoes on and then go,” Shelton said. 

 Shelton took her journal and books with sentimental value. Nash asked Shelton to take photos and a cross-stitched “S” her great-grandmother made for Nash before she died.

The fire also affected second year USA medical student Harrison Dilworth.

“I came to class and there were piles of clothes, donations and things of that nature,” Dilworth said.

According to Dilworth, his classmates took it upon themselves to begin helping him immediately after the fire by creating an Excel spreadsheet to coordinate donations.

His classmates also helped him get through finals. One of his classmates had an extra computer she let him use, which allowed him access to electronic study materials.

“It was really heartwarming, to know that my people would help me like that,” Dilworth said.

Nash was also grateful for the help she received from USA.

I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Nash said.

In the aftermath of the fire, all three students are trying to rebuild their lives.

“I’m trying to find a place to live and adjust to this new normal,” Nash said. “It has been a wild adventure, that’s for sure. I would have never imagined that something like this could happen to me, but I know that God always causes things to happen for a reason.”

The fire still shocks Shelton.

“For a while I just couldn’t grasp that I really lost everything and that I wouldn’t go back in there again,” Shelton said.

USA is still collecting money for the affected students. To donate, visit the office of USA development website.

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Rebuilding lives after Timber Ridge fire