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Columbia community rallies around family after devastating apartment fire

Saturday night, a vigil was held for the two children who died in a Columbia Square Apartment fire.

A close family friend confirmed 4-year-old Ta’niyah Pate and 7-year-old Jyneisha Washington died in the fire early Wednesday morning. The vigil honoring the girls started at 6 p.m. and took place at the Columbia Square Apartments. The vigil was private, media was asked not to attend.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by Columbia Fire Department.

Yarco, the company that manages Columbia Square Apartments, said they've been working with local Red Cross volunteers and the Phoenix Family, a non-profit out of Kansas City.

“Some of the stuff comes from families at Columbia Square, and it's amazing," Robert Schock, the Senior Vice President and Director of Property Management said. "A lot of them don't have much, but they're willing to give, you know, to be generous with what they do have.”

By Friday, the community donated clothing items, Grubhub gift cards, air mattresses, toothbrushes and the list goes on he said. Thanks to donations and help from the Red Cross, the hotel room the family is staying in is covered too.

"If you can imagine, you don't even know what way to turn," Rebecca Gordon, the executive director for the central northern Missouri chapter of the American Red Cross said. "In an instance like that, we're there, providing that immediate assistance and then helping to do some case management so that the days and weeks following that they can recover.”

Phoenix Family, affiliated with Columbia Square Apartments, is organizing donation efforts to the Columbia Square Emergency Fund. Schock added that a donor also covered funeral costs.

"It is good news about the Columbia community. They've really responded, I mean, beyond any of us expected," Schock said. "Thank you to everybody who is doing this and has felt, you know, that you wanted to help in some way. It's appreciated and the family's gonna continue to need that."

Those interested in donating to the Phoenix Family's Columbia Square Emergency Fund can visit here.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia
Apartment fire
columbia fire department

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Abby Landwehr


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