Graham community stepping up to help house fire victims

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GRAHAM, N.C. — The two people injured in a Graham house fire earlier this week were identified Wednesday as Joseph and Kathryn Allen.

Both remain in ICU at UNC hospital, according to the Alamance County Fire Marshal John Payne.

According to witness accounts, Joseph Allen woke up to flames and smoke early Monday morning at his home on Walker Avenue. He was able to not only save himself, but also his wife, Kathryn, and his three kids who were sleeping at the time. Neighbors said Joseph broke through windows, severely cutting himself, to rescue his family members.

“I’m not surprised at all that he did that,” said his sister-in-law, Deborah Allen. “He would do anything for the kids, for his family.”

Deborah said the children in the house were 3, 5 and 6 and are all OK. She said a fourth child of the couple’s, who is four months old, was staying with relatives that night and was thus not home at the time of the fire.

In response, the Graham community has stepped up to offer assistance in many forms.

“I really hadn’t expected the amount of donations that we have received in just one day,” Deborah said. “It’s coming from everywhere. It’s overwhelming.”

Alamance-Burlington School System Public Information Officer Jenny Faulkner said that ABSS staff is assisting the family with clothing, food, toys and school supplies.

A new apartment complex in Graham, Watercourse Apartment Homes, is collecting donations for the Allens in its lobby.

“I cannot imagine what this family is going through,” said Property Manager Katherine Matkins. “They lost everything. Their sense of stability, their clothing, just the basic necessities. We felt like if we could at least give them that — it would take away that stress from them.”

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