Spokane residents donate water, generators to Carlton Complex fire victims

Spokane residents donate water, generators to Carlton Complex fire victims

SPOKANE, Wash. - Some of the hardest hit towns in Central Washington will have a tough road ahead even after the Carlton Complex has come and gone, and that's where people from our area are stepping up to give them a helping hand.

At the Dutch Bros. coffee stand at 2nd and Washington Monday morning, community members were rallying to bring those affected by the Carlton Complex fire two things they need more than anything else: Power and water.

Dean Keifer was one of those that came out. He's had his generator sitting in his basement, unused, for more than two decades.

"If it started I would bring it down and so it started on the second pull believe it or not and so here it is," he said.

He understands there's a chance he may not get it back. If he does who knows what condition it will be in. Dean doesn't care.

"Looking at those fires there is nothing you can get out of them it's just reduced to rubble and that, that touched me," he said.

This effort started with Shawn Graves, a former Army sergeant and Iraq war veteran who wanted to step up to help. Graves' family homesteaded in the Methow Valley, a community that supported him when he returned home from war.

"These are people that care about other Washingtonians and what's going on with the Carlton Complex fire," he said.

"[We] talked about what we could do and I thought, 'You know they are going to be out of power for two weeks to a month, let's see if we can get some generators,'" he said.

Graves knew just the man to call -- State Representative Kevin Parker – and Parker knew just how to get it done.

"We started advertising this on Facebook about 48 hours, sometime on Saturday and Spokane just kept coming out of the wood work to help," Parker said.

Social media proved to be a very valuable tool; Parker's followers quickly committed more than 25 generators, over four tons of bottled water and a lot of helping hands.

"I actually follow Kevin on Twitter and he threw a tweet out saying, 'I'm looking for some volunteers' and I had the day off so I was just looking to come help out," Matthew McNeal said.

"Literally I put it on social media that I would need about nine or ten people showing up and look we have probably 15 to 20 people who showed up and that post went on last night around 6:30 or so," Parker said.

Parker did a lot of the organizing for this and said they can still use generators and water. If you'd like to help with that you can call him at (509) 251-1052.