Students collect donations for Rhonesboro fire victims - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Students collect donations for Rhonesboro fire victims

RHONESBORO, TX (KLTV) - A small East Texas community is reeling from a wildfire that consumed several homes.

The fire started Tuesday afternoon in Rhonesboro, off State Highway 154 West, just ten miles west of Gilmer. According to the Texas Forest Service, it has burned 350 acres, taking nine homes with it, and it is still not contained.

Harmony ISD student council members say the five students who lost their homes desperately need support and donations.

"They're going through hard times right now and it's difficult for all of us to deal with this," said Courtney Matulis, junior at Harmony High School.

Courtney Matulis' home did not burn in Tuesday's fire; she's crying for one of her classmate's who lost his house.

Courtney and other student council members met this morning, looking for a way to help their fellow students.

"We're trying to raise money for the families that have been affected because it's hard for a community to experience things like," said Matulis.

Harmony ISD says five students lost their homes.

"It's going to be hard to see them after that, and I honestly can't imagine what it would be like to lose everything, but we're just going to support them in anyway we can and just be there for them," said Bailey Rhodes, junior at Harmony High School.

"It makes us all think how things can change quickly," said Wayne Barrick.

Wayne Barrick, who works as a maintenance technician at Harmony ISD, was on the front line of the fire

He says he watched as several structures burned, not knowing who they belonged to. Barrick says it's difficult to put a face with the devastation.

"Having seeing it first hand, it's tough. You know you see it on the news, you see it in other communities and then it hits right here, so yea it is tough," said Barrick.

As this community begins to heal, these students want their classmates to know they'll be there through the recovery process.

"We want to help them in every way possible because they've lost everything," said Rhodes.

We're told you can make monetary donations and drop off gift cards for the fire victims at harmony high school. They have a drop box there.

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