Munhall Fire Victims- The Butlers
Katie Turiak Butler
on behalf of Jim ButlerGIBSONIA, PA
At 4:50 am on Friday December 16th , my husband answered what I would deem the scariest call we've ever received. His parents were calling from the 7th floor of their high rise in Munhall (Parkview Towers) crying that the building was on fire and that they had no access to the stairs to get out. The last words we heard were, "We love you," and the line went dead.
My husband called 911 and the Munhall Police, who informed him that firefighters were on the 7th floor coming to his parents' aid. He then called them back and repeated the instructions given by the 911 operator: to close the door and place a wet towel at the bottom and to open the window and breathe in the outside air. They (and their dog, Louie) were safely evacuated. Their next door neighbor lost his life, and Louie was the only pet that made it out alive.
As you'll read in news stories, PAT buses were brought to the scene to keep residents warm, and later in the day they were taken to a make-shift shelter for food, medical aid, and a place to rest while living arrangements could be made. My husband and I did everything we could to make them comfortable. We bought them clothes, toiletries, and we were able to talk to their doctors and get their medications. They are both in poor health, especially his father who is a diabetic, so it was imperative that we get their prescriptions ASAP.
Thanks to the Red Cross and a pre-loaded card, they were able to be placed in an extended stay hotel. Though we are so very grateful, the only hotel that they were able to afford with the card is insect infested and filthy.
Their financial situation is dire and assistance is needed immediately. Until the county can place them into a permanent residence, we would like to get them into a place that is slightly more comfortable, as nobody should have to live in those conditions. The owner of the apartment building does not have a plan in place for re-opening, but did state that it should be ready in March of 2017.
Their dog is currently staying with my parents (the hotel does not allow pets) and is in need of medical attention, so the money that we are hoping to raise would also help us to get him to a vet for an exam and treatment.
We came up with the $2,000 figure based on:
-the cost per night at a motel with acceptable living conditions (approximately $88 per night for 2 weeks, $1,232)
-Veterinary care for their dog (approximately $300)
-Food, toiletries, clothing (all was lost in the fire) and every day living necessities ($468)
We know that Christmas is coming up fast, and that many families are struggling financially at this time of year, but a donation of any size is appreciated by our family more than you know.
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