Southwest Inn patrons displaced after deadly

May 31, 2013 8:18:00 PM PDT
The Southwest Inn motel that became the scene of a deadly fire Friday was a place that dozens of people called home. Now they have no place to live and most of their belongings are destroyed.

The Southwest Inn was more than a hotel, it was a month-to-month rental home, where the Smith family lived. They lost everything, and they have five children.

"We're just taking it day by day," displaced resident Shadrieka Smith said.

As they sat for seven hours watching the place where they had lived burn to the ground, their minds were not on their own loss -- or even their own family -- but on the families of the four fallen firefighters. They felt sorry for them, not for themselves.

"It's them not having a family to come home. I'm living, God got me here but they're not here anymore," Smith said.

Jemica McIntyre had lived here for six months. She's a student with nowhere to go.

"Everything I owned is there. I have no family here, I have no friends," she said.

But in the same breath, she said what's happened to her is not worth complaining about when there are people to pray for.

"Their families, their mothers, their daughters, their kids -- mainly their kids. They're gonna end up growing up without a father or a mother and that's terrible," McIntyre said.

Many of those people lost everything in the fire traveled a short distance down the road to the Plainfield Inn. It's where they'll be staying and trying to figure out what to do next.

Eyewitness News was there as many of those folks displaced by the fire arrived in vans. Many of them are older tenants and full-time residents. Some of them looked very worried and fatigued as they checked in.

"It's tough, it's tough, because everything we owned was over there. We live there full time, and when this happened, we didn't know what we was going to do. I just paid my rent for the whole month and we was just stuck," displaced tenant Jerry Bullard said.

The staff here at Plainfield Inn says given the fire tragedy, they immediately stepped up to temporarily donate about 20 rooms.

"Always here to help the community any way we can," Plainfield Inn owner Rajan Patel said.

Plainfield Inn's staff says it's prepared to help these families until Monday, and they're working with managers from the fire-damaged motel.

And as they continue dealing with their own personal tragedies, several of the motel guests told me they are definitely praying for the Houston Fire Department right now.

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