Kallin Zehren, Amy Kane, Kylie Shadle and Gabrielle Gardiner pose in their new house after the fire that destroyed their previous home. (Photo courtesy of Kallin Zehren)
Kallin Zehren, Amy Kane, Kylie Shadle and Gabrielle Gardiner pose in their new house after the fire that destroyed their previous home.

Photo courtesy of Kallin Zehren

Community supports students affected by fire

December 8, 2016

After a two-alarm fire left four undergraduate students homeless, the Tulane community provided them not only with material goods but unwavering support.

The fire occurred at approximately 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 28 at 2119 Calhoun Street, destroying the home of seniors Kallin Zehren, Amy Kane, Kylie Shadle and Gabrielle Gardiner.

“What didn’t burn was covered in soot and smelled terrible,” Zehren said. “We are not exactly sure what we can save at this point. We lost clothes, furniture, pots/pans, sentimental personal items, postcards from our traveling and all our art.”

Friends of the victims created a GoFundMe campaign to help ease the financial burdens caused by the fire. Within one week of the campaign launching online, Facebook users shared the link approximately 1,100 times. As of Dec. 6, the campaign has raised $9,672 with that number still growing.

The page for the campaign can be found at www.gofundme.com/calhounfirefund.

One of the many groups that reached out to the affected students was the Catholic Center.

“The night of the fire everyone from the Catholic Center came over to our friends’ house to console and cheer us up,” Zehren said. “They gave us clothes, toiletries, food, everything they had.”

As Zehren and Shadle are both members of Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity, the Greek community played a role in the students’ recovery from this incident as well.

“The entire Greek community is concerned for the well-being of the women affected by the house fire on Calhoun Street this week, and I’m proud to say that everyone has shown incredible support so far,” Panhellenic Council President Rebecca Shaffron said.

Members of Theta held an internal clothing and home goods drive as well as arranged to provide the affected students with home cooked meals for each remaining night of the semester.

Theta President Alex Madormo expressed her gratitude to the other Greek organizations and their members who provided donations, love and support during this time.

“With friendship, amity, gifts and kindness, every sorority contributed to the girls’ recovery…,” Madormo said. “This community made one of the biggest and best impacts during their time of healing.”

Business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi also hosted a GoFundMe campaign raising another $2,000 to support the recovery fund.

According to Zehren, the Tulane administration provided she and her housemates with emergency housing. She also said that all of their professors have been very understanding.

“Specifically, [Student Resources and Support Services] and [Housing and Residential Life] are working on a plan for them as they recover from this situation,” Brian Johnson, assistant vice president of Housing and Residence Life/Campus Recreation, said. “Thankfully, everyone is safe.”

After receiving many donations of money, clothes and supplies, Zehren, Kane, Shadle and Gardiner now ask the Tulane community simply for their prayers, kindness and understanding.

“Through this experience we have learned how loved we are by the Tulane community,” Zehren said. “I have never felt so loved and cared for in my entire life.”

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