GRANDVIEW - On the night of Feb. 12 a chimney spark caused a house to catch fire in White Swan. Because of gale force winds, the fire spread across 235 acres and destroyed numerous homes. Representatives from R.E. Powell Distributing Company say this disaster left 145 individuals homeless and another large number of families sustained significant smoke and wind damage to their homes or lost perishable items.
To help assist these families in their time of need, R.E. Powell Distributing Company in Grandview has set a goal to raise $25,000 by April 25. This money will provide food and gas cards to be given directly to the families who lost their homes.
"We do a tremendous amount of business in the area of the Yakama Nation Reservation," said Justin Christensen, director of sales at R.E. Powell Distributing Company.
"A lot of our customers and friends were affected by the White Swan fire. We're always looking for ways to give back to the community and this definitely hit home. We thought it invited our attention."
As a local fuel, lubricant and propane provider, R.E. Powell is offering a donation on all fuel, lubricant and propane purchases made in the next 60 days by their participating customers and the customers' retail locations.
On top of the $25,000 target, Christensen said food and clothing donation drop off points will be established to help the victims of the White Swan fire.
There are several drop off points in Wapato, Toppenish, Yakima, White Swan and Zillah. Local drop off points include Ameristar Texaco in Mabton, Ameristar Grandview Chevron and Mid Valley Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Grandview, and the Outpost Shell Truck Stop in Sunnyside.
Christensen said people can help by purchasing fuel at the contributing locations or by dropping off food and/or clothing at one of the donation barrels located throughout the Yakima Valley. People just need to look for the "White Swan Fire Relief Effort" donation barrels.
A monetary donation can also be made directly to Central Valley Bank's Wapato branch. The bank is located at 507 W. First St. and the account is White Swan Fire Relief Effort.