Shepherd Fire Destroys Several Apartments, Community Steps Up To Help

The massive fire in Shepherd was very devastating for everyone who used to call the buildings home.

More than a dozen people and their pets lived in apartments on the second level of the buildings that burned.

Everyone made it out OK, but some animals didn’t.

“I was in the shower and I heard the phone ringing and I looked outside and noticed the smoke coming down from the ceiling and up through the floor and through the walls,” said Aaron Fent, recalling the events when he realized his apartment building was on fire.

Some of Aaron’s neighbors say he saved their lives.

Once he saw the smoke he quickly jumped out of the shower, put on whatever clothes he could grab and ran to tell his neighbors.

“I think I kind of broke their door, I was hitting it pretty hard,” he said. “I looked behind me and here comes this cloud of smoke. … We were upstairs still, delirious to what was going on. I think I just woke them up.”

Now, rubble is all that’s left of their homes and belongings.

“It’s hard to lose everything. Life goes on. At least people got out safe, everyone’s fine,” Aaron said.

But this tight-knit community is stepping up big time.

The village says people were flooding them with donations of clothing and cash.

“I was thinking of how fortunate I am that I only lost my business. … These people lost their everything they own,” said Kevin Blumberg. “I felt like there’s something that has to be done.”

“It’s overpowering,” Aaron said. “I was out in a t-shirt and the next thing I know I had two jackets, a blanket, two bags of clothes next to me. Thank you whoever did that. … I had no idea what was going on and everything was just king of in shambles at that point.”

The American Red Cross is also helping victims get shelter, food, warmth and hope.

“You can literally come into town and feel the love,” Kevin said. “This community is very quick to come to the aid of each other — it’s family.”

There is a school bus parked in front of the village offices for any type of donation, such as clothes or food.

Also, cash donations are being accepted to an account at the Isabella Bank in Shepherd.