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Students help clean up in aftermath of Wooldridge fire


Students from a Columbia private school helped residents of a Cooper County village clean up Monday after a devastating wildfire hit the community last month.

The students from Tolton Catholic High School are working with the Wooldridge Legacy Association to help with cleanup after a wildfire swept through the town damaging homes and other structures last month. The fire burned more than 3,000 acres

"I would really like to help these people clean up and have a fresh start," student Katie Sutter said. "I just think it would be really good for everyone in this town and i think it's just a really good learning experience for everyone that is helping here." 

More than 30 students were divided into groups of 10 to tackle different areas of the small town that was scorched by flames. They sorted through burned rubble and put it into piles.

The fire burned several homes and structures in the town and left families with nothing.

Student Elijah Coulibaly also chose to help with cleanup efforts. He said he was happy to help out the families of Wooldridge because they shouldn't have to clean up the aftermath by themselves.

Brad Wooldridge -- the organizer of the Wooldridge Legacy Association -- said the town of Wooldridge is important to him because it was named after his great grandfather. He chose to put the group together to help families financially.

"We're going to start different fundraising campaigns to raise money so the property owners don't have to pay to clean their property up," Wooldridge said.

As the holidays are just around the corner, Wooldridge says it was important to see students helping with the cleanup efforts.

"Giving their time and all we can do is give our thanks," Wooldridge said. "It's very inspiring to see these kids out here right now, they could do community service that isn't and strenuous as hauling bring metal and lumber."

Investigators say the fire may have started with a combine in a field and was fueled by drought conditions. No one was killed in the fire.

To donate or help with cleanup efforts you can contact the Wooldridge Legacy Association at (660) 882-3447.
Article Topic Follows: Cooper

Erika McGuire


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