Two special luncheons were not only designed to say thank you to the many first responders who helped with a July 15 fire, but also an opportunity for residents of Bayberry Farms Apartments to heal.
“We really wanted to show our appreciation for all that the Wyoming police officers and firefighters did for us,” said Catherine Kooyers, a resident of Bayberry Farms Apartments and one of the organizers of the event that took place earlier this month.
It was July 15 when a call went out that there was a fire at the Bayberry Farms Apartments, a Wyoming senior-living complex located at 2520 56th St. SW. “Earlier that day, we had just had the fire department here but it turned out to be nothing,” Kooyers said. However, the mid-afternoon fire was much more serious as smoke started to fill the apartment complex. Kooyers, who lives in an apartment that was near where the fire started, ran through the building knocking on doors and trying to get people out.
“Because of the earlier incident, some people didn’t think the second situation was all that serious,” Kooyers said.
Along with tenants, firefighters and police, workers from the nearby businesses came over to help with the evacuation.
“I heard a knock on the door but didn’t pay that much attention to it,” said resident Ellen Vining. “I heard another knock, much harder and decided I needed to answer it.
“There was a young lady telling me that I needed to get out. She was all dressed in blue so I thought she was one of the firefighters.”
Vining later learned that person was a Monelli’s employee who was coming in for her shift when she saw the smoke and came over to help.
“I learned a very valuable lesson that day,” Vining said with a chuckle. “Don’t ignore a knock on the door.”
Because of the organization of the tenants it made it easier for the department to assess who was missing which in turned meant the lost of only a pet, said Wyoming Deputy Chief Brian Bennett. Three people were taken to the hospital to be checked out. Three units suffered the most damage with the entire building having smoke and water damage.
It has taken several months, but most of the residents have been able to move back home and with the fire behind them, the tenants felt now was a good time to show their appreciation to the police officers and firefighters with the special luncheons.
“It is always nice when you are able to come back and visit with those who you were able to help and learn what has happened since the fire,” Bennett said. “A lot of times, we are in and out and we do not get that chance to talk to the residents and see how they are doing afterwards.”
“I am so impressed with all of them,” Vining said. “They all have such compassion which I guess that is why they became firefighters.”