Dozens pretend homes burned in February wildfires

Salvation Army Major Tim Grider
Salvation Army Major Tim Grider

Kristen Guilfoos
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - Dozens of people are pretending their houses were burned in February's wildfires. This was the scene one month ago... Smoke filled the air, and bright orange flames devoured homes.

The scene now is a very different one... What a difference a few weeks can make.

The re-building phase has begun. Lloyd Cunningham with Lloyd Cunningham Contractors says, "Steel footings. We're going to be pouring the footing this afternoon."

This crew is building a home for a man who lost everything. "Just a pile of rubble. He has nothing to work with. He had no insurance." As they re-build his home, he and many others are trying to re-build their lives... Turning to the Salvation Army for help.

But, mixed in with those who need help, are those who don't... Con artists trying to make a quick buck.

Salvation Army Major Tim Grider says, "It's sad but true." In the past few weeks nearly 60 people have showed up to Salvation Army headquarters to their family store, asking for help, pretending their house was burned, trying to get some free things.

Grider says, "The vast majority of them are from other states. New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, one from Colorado." The Salvation Army is determined not to let these dishonest people get away with any money or items."

We inquire about ID. Show us you live there, and of course we have the list of those homes that were damaged and affected. Once we verify they don't live there, they take off."

The Major says he's seen scammers like this after hurricanes in places like Florida but never before in Amarillo.