MADISON, Ala. - Within hours of hearing about the early Wednesday morning apartment fire that destroyed 16 units, the staff at Horizon Elementary knew they had families that were now homeless.
"The first thing that goes through my mind is I hope all of our kids are safe," said Principal Rodney Richardson.
The Magnolia Pointe apartment complex is a stone's throw from the school.
Horizon staff arrived on the scene trying to see if they could determine which families were impacted. They couldn't get names but they were able to get addresses from the managers.
From there, the staff cross-referenced the addresses with students and determined 13 of their students were directly impacted. In all, 30 people (family members of the students) associated with Horizon were affected.
The school was able to make contact with parents and learn what clothes sizes were immediately needed.
"Clothing was definitely the first thing they needed because of the smoke. From that point, we started looking at meals and other necessities. Like coats. It's starting to get cold outside," said Richardson.
In the days since the school has sent boxes of supplies to the families and some classrooms are even sponsoring families.
Imagine for one second, being a kid and trying to learn when you just lost everything before the holidays.
"I have my counselors checking on them. Trying to get them back in school. Which we have some of the students back in school. Trying to get them back in the routine," said Richardson.
Horizon teachers told WHNT New 19 the students that were displaced wanted to call their teachers within hours of the fire.
"They're our family. If anybody needs anything, we work together," said Maruso Setta, a Horizon teacher.
If you would like to help the families get back on their feet, the Madison City School District is starting a long-term fund. You can send money to the district office or Horizon Elementary School as long as the envelope is marked with "fire relief."
For contact details, click here.