Elementary school hosts “gift-card drive” to raise donations for victims of Spartanburg apartment fire

courtesy of Tracy Lark

SPARTANBURG Co., S.C. (WSPA) – Right now there are no new leads as investigators search for the person or people who set a fire at the Crown Pointe Apartments in Spartanburg on Christmas Eve.

Fire officials tell us that they’re sure it was set on purpose.

The flames destroyed the apartments of 17 families where 19 children lived.

And now, Jesse S. Bobo Elementary School down the street is hosting a gift card donation drive to help the families who were displaced.  The staff is hoping the community will help make it a success.

Jay Cabell was one of the 54 people who had to find a new home.  He was traveling when the fire sparked, but his mother was forced out into the cold.

“It was the worst feeling in the world knowing that my mother was outside in her pajamas at 5, 6 in the morning, my little niece, little brother, and sister. Everybody out, displaced,” he said.

Cabell and his kids have since moved into a nearby apartment, but without renters insurance, he’s still looking to replace what he lost.

Jesse Bobo Elementary says at least 4 of its students were affected by the fire.  Still, the gift card donations will go to all of the victims, assuming enough people give. The drop-off is Friday, January 5th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school’s front office at 495 Powell Mill Road in Spartanburg.  The school will also accept donations next week when school resumes from winter break, and also mail-in donations.

‘It tugs deeply at our heartstrings because Crown Pointe is not just an apartment complex 30 miles down the road, it’s one of our own,” said the Principal, Catherine Pogue.

As for the cause; so often during the holidays, we report on fires that started with a candle or Christmas lights. But investigators say they’ve ruled that out, and this was no accident.

“We were able to identify an area where the fire started and rule out certain things that would have started the fire. And so from there, we’ve been able to determine that we had the fire where we really should not have had a fire under normal circumstances,” said Spartanburg City Fire Marshall, Brad Hall.

Cabell is just grateful for the community support, and that this Near Year finds his family together and safe.

“We’re all alive, we all still have our health, so, that’s the best,” he said.