2/27/2013 6:19 PM
HINTON - Fire continued to smolder Wednesday more than a day after a block of Hinton apartments were extinguished by seven Summers County fire departments.
"I hate that it happened," said Hinton resident Kara Adkins. "That was a really old building, and a lot of people out there. It's going to be hard for them to find another place, and I know a lot of them. A lot of them were good people, you know."
Police arrested 25-year-old Billy Joe Gill of Hinton, who faces two counts of arson. In new details released in a criminal complaint, police said they found Gill nearby wearing rubber gloves and smelling of kerosene. But despite the acts of arson, spirits are high in the town.
"It's nice to have a small-town feel," said Jonathan Leftridge, who saw the fire from his home. "Everybody knows you, and everybody comes together and helps out. It's really great for a community."
The town's spirit is also impressing the mayor. He said he's happy to have the support in the worst disaster he's seen.
"It makes you proud that you're the mayor of a town that rallies behind individuals in distress," Mayor Joe Blakenship told Newswatch. "This act of violence has been terrible, but we always manage to support each other."
The fire broke out at 2 a.m. Tuesday, just 30 minutes after a separate house fire. Gill is the cousin of the first home's owner.
Now the town is focusing on recovering. Agencies that assist families in the area said they have received so much donated clothing that they will have extra left over. Until they move into their new homes, the Family Resource Center is asking that residents only donate food and household items.
"We're a small community, so we don't have tons of resources, and we have a lot of people who just want to help," said Amber Stover of the Family Resource Center. "We have a lot of caring people, and our community just really feels for these people."
Pamela Meadows, of Nimitz, donated her family's clothes.
"It's just the right thing to do," she told Newswatch. "We have a lot more than we really need, and basically just let it pile up, and there's a lot of people in need. Lots of people, and we just kept thinking about the kids and not having a jacket."
Blankenship said he hopes to bring new homes to the area that once housed residents on Brick Row.
"It's a blight in our community -- even with a vacant lot," he said. "It's a blight in our community because it's something that's been a part of our history. It's been there for years. I grew up one block from there. Lot of fond memories of the Brick Row.