WINSTON-SALEM, NC (WGHP) – Many people did everything they could to escape danger as the Weaver fertilizer plant in Winston-Salem continued to burn Wednesday.
Community members left the 1-mile radius evacuation zone to stay with friends or family, but some people did not go far. They headed to the evacuation shelter so they could help people deal with the current situation.
One man’s kind gesture meant families had a safe and warm place to spend the night.
Five families were able to call the Courtyard Marriott on University Parkway for free because a local business owner showed up ready and willing to help people get rooms.
“We understood that they might need more help,” Kalim Andraos told WFXR sister station WGHP.
Kalim Andraos saw people being asked to leave their homes because of the fire at the Weaver Fertilizer factory on Cherry Street.
Some people left with just the clothes on their backs. He’s no stranger to leaving the house in a heartbeat. He’s a refugee from Lebanon, and that’s why he showed up at the evacuation shelter on Tuesday, February 1, ready to help those in need.
Andraos drove family after family down the street to the Courtyard Marriott to pay for a room they could stay in. He even bought pizzas for those who were hungry. These kind gestures made it clear: these strangers were now Andraos’ family.
“Coming here makes it personal, you know, with Delores and her daughter, you know, Shameka… she has four kids. It gets personal when they don’t have room, they don’t have shoes on them,” he said. “They didn’t have time when they evacuated…they didn’t have time to put their shoes on.”
Many people came forward to help in any way they could.
As for Andraos, he said he wanted to show these families that there is hope for tomorrow and that they will soon be home.