MEDFORD, Ore. — The fire displaced six families and left one young child with severe burns.
With so many reeling from the devastation of what happened… a pair of local high school students have made it their mission to rally behind those in need.
The two seniors at Saint Mary’s are fundraising for the child burn victim with hopes of reaching their goal of $15,000.
“I think it was almost like, basically, calling our names to just do something…,” said Kalen Gibbs and Coren Elmore, Saint Mary School students.
The two seniors say they couldn’t believe the news… after hearing about a fire only a few miles away displacing six families and leaving two children with severe injuries.
And especially, when learning the two children are the grandnieces of their school’s custodian, Bruce Chapman.
“This just happened literally right down the street…to someone we’re connected to,” said Elmore.
The fire sparked in a Medford complex early Friday morning.
Firefighters rescued several children including Chapman’s family, a 3-year-old and five-year-old, who were trapped in the burning building.
The five-year-old was rushed to a hospital in Portland for treatment of severe burns.
“I don’t think if we were in that position or if anyone were in that position…,” said Elmore. “They would want medical bills to be the top thing they’re thinking about.”
That’s when the two started a Gofundme page for the kids already raising over $2,000 with dozens of shares on Facebook.
“Especially at Saint Mary’s we have this community and I think the word spread fairly quickly,” said Elmore.
It’s a cause not only the two seniors are proud of, but the school as well.
“It didn’t surprise me at all that our kids are stepping up too…” said Principal Jim Meyer of Saint Mary’s School. “That’s who they are and especially with Kalen and Coren, they’re such good people.”
The two say they have their fingers crossed aiming to help the family with medical bills to help them re-build their lives.
Their goal is to raise $15,000.
“It’s a really great thing for the community to come together and help these kids,” said Gibbs.
While the custodian, Bruce Chapman, told the principal he didn’t want to be on camera, he passed along a message saying he’s grateful for what the students are doing.
Amanda Rose is a multimedia journalist for NBC5 News. Amanda graduated from Columbia University earning a Master’s degree in Journalism. She also received a Bachelor’s degree in English with a specialization in literature from the University of British Columbia.
She’s a Los Angeles native, but is thrilled to return to the beautiful Pacific Northwest and is passionate about reporting on the criminal justice system.