Benefit yard sale raises thousands for St. Clair Lane fire victims’ family

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - After the tragic events on St. Clair Lane where four people and an unborn baby were lost, the community is left rattled and wanting to support the relatives of the victims.

Mirabella Salon organized a benefit yard sale with 100% of proceeds going to funeral costs as well as the living expenses for other members of the Smallwood/Sokolowski family whose home burned down.

The rummage sale took place the day after additional capital murder charges were announced for Christopher Henderson, married to one of the victims, and his other wife Rhonda Carlson.

The community support has been overwhelming, according to organizers, who hope to make a big difference following the tragedy.

"I'm heartbroken, it's hard, it feels like I've lost part of my family," said Brooke Brown. "It's such a senseless tragic thing that shouldn't have ever happened."

Brown helped the ladies of Mirabella organize the sale at Riverton Elementary, where Clayton Chambers, one of the victims, went to school. Brown was there when the 8-year-old was born, and says she has known the Smallwood/Sokolowski family for about 15 years.

"They're obviously going through the most difficult thing in their life," she explained. "If we can help with the monetary stuff, that's less they have to be consumed by."

There was also a gun raffle, a 50/50 raffle, pizza sale, and other efforts taking place as people shopped, bringing much of the community out for the cause.

"I've seen people that are just donating money because the just didn't see anything they needed," said donor and shopper Christi Thompson. "They want to help out."

Organizers hoped to raise around $3,000, but before the sale's halfway point, they had already reached $15,000 between the different efforts.

"A lot of people didn't realize there were survivors," said Thompson. "They'd ask 'where's the money going,' thinking it was the whole family. But it's not the whole family, there are some left behind."

Many of the donors and shoppers did not know the family, but had heard throughout the tight-knit community about their big hearts and the events that shook their family.

Any items not sold by the end of the sale went to Our Kids Clothes Closet and St. Vincent DePaul Society to help other people in need.

Elsewhere, Huntsville Adventure Boot Camp director Joe Martin held a charity boot camp session to raise money for the Smallwood/Sokolowski family.  Boot camp members brought their family members and friends, and chipped in more than $1,200 to help.

Huntsville Adventure Boot Camp collected more than $1,200 during a charity boot camp session held August 15 for the Smallwood/Sokolowski family. (Photo: Joe Martin)

Huntsville Adventure Boot Camp collected more than $1,200 during a charity boot camp session held August 15 for the Smallwood/Sokolowski family. (Photo: Joe Martin)

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