MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — An evening fire at the Genesis Court Apartments in Middletown on Aug. 11 left over 20 people without homes. On Aug. 12, the Middletown Borough Police Department charged a 12-year-old boy with arson, according to a police report.
Police reported that the fire started just after 7 p.m. on Aug. 11. The American Red Cross was on-scene to help provide 13 adults, 11 children, and three pets with temporary shelter. The American Red Cross is also offering counseling services to those affected.
“In the events of displacement there’s some financial resources that we provide we have disaster mental health volunteers at our disposal who are Red Cross volunteers trained to speak with those individuals who are displaced because often it could be the worst day of their lives and they have to process the shock of what just happened,” said Laura Burke of the American Red Cross.
There will be a “casework team” assisting people for at least two weeks, Burke said.
After investigating, police say that the fire started in an attached shed behind one of the apartment units, eventually spreading to others; Seven apartment units were destroyed, and four were deemed unlivable.
A 12-year-old boy was taken into custody by Dauphin County Juvenile Probation Services, according to police.
“He could have really killed people he’s playing with people’s lives,” said Elizabeth Golden, who lives at the Genesis Court Apartments with her daughter. “I looked and I saw thick black smoke and I was scared I was crying because I didn’t know if anyone was hurt.”
The Middletown Area School District, which is assisting the American Red Cross, is hosting a supply drive for the impacted families on Monday, Aug. 15 from 8 a.m. through 3 p.m. The supply drive will take place at Middletown Area High School.
A list of needed items is below:
- The most recommended item is gift cards to Walmart, Target, and Giant
- Baby formula
- Diapers, sizes three and four
- Diaper wipes
- NEW baby items for two one-year-old girls:
- Baby strollers (two)
- NEW children’s clothing:
- Three-year-old female
- Six-year-old females (two)
- Eight-year-old male
- Eight-year-old female
- 12-year-old male
- 16-year-old male
- 17-year-old male
- NEW men’s and women’s clothing:
- School supplies (no backpacks)
- Toys and books for children over the age of three (no oversized toys)
- NEW toiletries:
- Baby wash
- Body wash
- Feminine hygiene products
- Shaving cream
- First aid items
- General supplies:
- Ziploc bag
- Tote bag
- Garbage bags
- Paper towels