Church volunteer: 'We do this to see hope'

Volunteers from the First Southern Baptist Church have cleared nearly 20 homes in three days after the Fritch fire claimed more than 200.

From broken glass to the last remaining hot spots, volunteers from the First Southern Baptist Church are working in shifts to clean properties in Fritch.

The church brought in nearly 80 volunteers from across the state to help in disaster relief after the Fritch fire claimed more than 200 homes. All the volunteers are a part of the Southern Baptist Texas Convention, and most of them travel from disaster to disaster volunteering their time.

"We have about 90 homes currently," Pastor Calvin Winters said. "And we don't plan to leave until every home is completely clear."

Unit Leader Bill Blackwell said his crew is usually at their first home by 8 a.m. He said, "We come into these properties get the metals separated, and if there's anything that the people want us to sift through to try and find any valuables that may have survived the fire."

The volunteers wear everything from layers to steel-toe shoes and masks. "There is a lot of debris out here and it's hard work, but it's God's work," Blackwell said.

Blackwell and the other volunteers are spending their nights at the First Southern Baptist Church. Calvin said he expects them to be here through next week, but the church is still accepting applications from residents for volunteers to clear their properties. There is no charge, but residents must fill out an application.