Community delivers support to first responders

Published 06/19 2013 05:16PM

Updated 06/19 2013 06:24PM

HOOPESTON -- While fire crews continue monitoring the site of a a fire at J & R Recycling, community members are stepping up to help. WCIA-3's Jillian Deam shares how people came together to support their first responders.

Shock is what many say they felt was a thick, dark cloud of smoke blanketed the town.

"I thought it was a big storm. It looked like a tornado on the ground."

"A wide storm coming through is what it looked like."

Instead, fire stormed through J & R Recycling, filling the sky with black smoke.

"This is a tragedy beyond belief."

As crews continue to fight flames, bits of the recycling site are charred and blowing in the air. As the wind pushes the smoke down the road, it's to the point you can't even see First Street. But, as flames and smoke spread fast, word around town spread just as quickly.

"A lot of people just called and said, 'What can I do?'"

"About every restaurant in town has been sending or having someone pick up food and bring it in."

Henning's Root Beer Stand sent fuel for firefighters.

"We're all donating food or water, whatever can help."

Other volunteers hauled in snacks.

"We got on Facebook and told people, 'Start bringing food and we'll feed these wonderful people helping us out.'"

Some farmers, like Richard Schmid, used his farm truck to haul loads of extra water.

"We made a bee-line over here. I'm on my third load this morning."

Loads of support which brought some light to the dark cloud.

"I just can't thank the people of Hoopeston and the surrounding area enough."

It shows how people here have a lot of heart.

"When there's a family in need, this town comes together and they always have and always will."

The effort to help is still going strong. The fire chief says the community made sure crews got dinner as well.

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