Catawba Indian Nation seeking donations after a dozen residents displaced by apartment fire

Most of the vertical caution tape wrapped around columns at the Green Earth development apartments on the Catawba Indian Reservation isn’t real.

The tape, along with a “haunted” sign out front and bat stickers on one of the doors, is for Halloween.

But late Friday, after a fire destroyed one of the apartments and displaced residents from five others, the Halloween decor seemed, in some ways, appropriate. And real caution tape ran horizontally as proof of real damage.

The fire started around 6 p.m. in an end unit of a multi-family town home-style building in the Green Earth development on the reservation, tribe spokesperson Elizabeth Harris said.

“The Catawba Nation is deeply saddened for the loss of homes for five tribal families last night on the reservation,” Chief Bill Harris said in a statement Saturday. “Thanks to the quick response from the Lesslie Fire Department and York County Sheriffs as well as many of our tribal staff members, no one was hurt and the damage was contained.

“The community is coming together to help these families through this difficult time and we appreciate anyone who is willing to help.”

No one was injured in the fire, but about a dozen people from the five apartments were displaced, Harris said.

Harris said the Catawba Nation is accepting donations on behalf of the displaced families, at least two of whom include young children.

Harris said the tribe is accepting clothing and cash or gift card donations at the Longhouse on the reservation.

The Lesslie Fire Department responded to the blaze.

Lesslie Fire Chief Tommy White said the fire was contained to one apartment but the others suffered water and smoke damage.

White said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Residents returned to the apartments Saturday afternoon to try to salvage any belongings.

The American Red Cross responded to the reservation with a disaster team to assist tribal residents, Red Cross officials said in a statement.

Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068

How to help

Here is a list of items needed to help those displace by Friday’s fire:

▪ Men – pants: 32/34, 42/44; shirts: large, 3x; shoes: 10, 12

▪ Women – pants: 11, 14; shirts: small, large; shoes: 7, 7.5; bras: 34b, 40c

▪ Boys – pants: boys 5T; shirts: boys 5T, 3T; shoes: toddler 8

▪ Girls – pants: girls 3T, 8; shirts: girls 3T, 10/12; shoes: girls 4

Other items: size 6 diapers; household cleaning items

Questions? Call Melissa Seamon, Victims Services Manger or Erica Canady, Social Services Director at 803-366-4792

Leave donations at the Catawba Indian Nation Longhouse at 996 Avenue of the Nations.