El Paso

Community works to help Fort Bliss military family who lost apartment in fire

Military family loses all in fire

EL PASO, Texas - EL PASO, Texas - The community is coming together to help a couple who lost many of their belongings in an east El Paso apartment fire Saturday morning. 

The blaze broke out around 3:30 a.m. at the Shadow Ridge Apartments in the 9300 block of Viscount Boulevard.  


Officials said more than 55 firefighters worked to contain the blaze, spraying down the charred building remains well into the morning. 


U.S. Spc.  Gerrick Willhite was one of the tenants whose apartment was destroyed. 

Willhite said he hadn't been home for more than 24 hours after returning from a deployment when he had to rush out.

His wife, Kathryn, was in New York at the time of the fire.

She told ABC-7 she andWillhite had planned to go on their honeymoon Friday. 

She said Willhite was able to grab both of their passports, but sentimental items, like her wedding dress, important pictures, electronics and vital documents were all destroyed. 

A friend of  the couple, Stefani Marriott,  set up a Go Fund Me page to help the couple start over. 

Army Emergency Relief Services is stepping in to help military families the fire affected. 

Employee Marion Walker said  Army Emergency Relief Services offers" a wide variety of service --furniture, uniform replacement, food, fuel, the immediate need."

Fire crews said two of the five injured were taken to local hospitals, where there was no immediate word on their conditions. The other three victims were treated at the scene.

Firefighters also rescued two dogs from the blaze; the pets are currently being cared for by Animal Services until the owners are found.

The cause of the fire has not been released. 

Army Emergency Relief Services can help military families, call 915-568-8376.


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