Oklahoma Fire Victims Sheltered in RVs
With nearly hundreds of eastern Oklahoma families homeless from wildfires, some good samaritans in Green Country west of Tulsa are reaching to make sure everyone has a cool place to sleep.
CrossTimbers Marina and the city of Mannford have organized a trailer gathering. They're asking folks to temporarily donate RVs to fire victims who lost their homes, KOTV-TV, Tulsa, reported.
The drive began Wednesday (Aug. 15) and Oklahomans are already answering the call.
A little RV may look like a tight fit for a family of five, but it's just what the Macaruso family needs, at least for now.
"It's like a 5-star hotel in there," said Rick Macaruso. "Kids got a place to sleep that's dry and we don't have to sweat to death. It's not home, but it's as close as we're gonna get for now."
With cartoons on TV, being homeless seems to be the furthest thing from Gabriella, Ricky and Mya's minds.
But when the TV turns off, the reality sets in.
"Losing the house, I gotta say, is the most painful, because I lived out there all my 13 years," Gabriella said.
The family has been on the move since their mobile home was destroyed in the wildfires.
For days, they've stayed in an old RV with shoddy air conditioning and little space. They said it's not ideal, but know they're better off than others.
"This is a real here and now need," said Ron Howell, owner of CrossTimbers Marina. "These are often, staying in tents right now — some are actually sleeping, which is very sad, where their home was out in the outdoors."
This week CrossTimbers Marina teamed up with the city of Mannford to rustle up RV and trailer donations.
In a matter of hours they had six generous donors and they expect that number to grow.
The Macarusos spent the day setting up their temporary digs.
"It's so scary," Gabriella said. "I'm afraid I'm gonna break something or something like that."
They said they are grateful for the generous spirit of a complete stranger, yet still uncertain about what the future holds.
"It's kind of weird, not knowing what you're gonna do next," Gabriella said. "It's a scary feeling."
The groups aren't asking anyone to give up their RVs, just to donate them temporarily during this transition phase.
"Their property will be protected and taken care of and they will be routinely looked at to make sure they're not being abused in any way. We don't expect that to happen," Howell said.
You can find out how to donate by emailing or calling (91) 288-2332.
In the meantime, the Army Corps of Engineers is offering up several of their campsites to wildfire victims for free.