Like many neighborhoods in North Texas, in the middle of the new homes that burned in the Balch Springs fire sits the elementary school: Mackey Elementary.
The staff has been hard at work. They were there Monday getting ready for day one.
Just blocks away a commercial landscaper was mowing grass in an empty field and hit a rock. That sparked a massive grass fire that raced right up to the homes in the community.
“We were here inside the school and we started smelling smoke,” said Principal Lynne Noe.
“We said, ‘those are our babies and those are their homes.’ We didn’t know the extent of it until we saw it on the news,” said Noe.
Seeing says so much, but at home, you can’t smell it. The smell of the smoke is so heavy, it certainly affects all kids who live near here.
“We went to the shelter, the Red Cross shelter, and met families there,” said Noe. “The kids were remarkably OK. I think they’re so young they don’t understand the permanency and don’t understand how this is going to change their life.”
The teachers, parents and neighbors all started working out of that neighborhood school. They were figuring out housing, clothing, food and anything the parents of those children needed.
“I think the stability is going to be good for the kids. I think our parents will have a lot of stress during that time and I think that always rubs off on the children. I think the best place for them to be is at Mackey,” said Noe.
Mesquite ISD is taking monetary donations to help the families on its website.