HOUSTON - For almost a month now, generous Houstonians have been donating money to help the families of the firefighters hurt and killed in a massive motel fire.
Much of that money was given to the 100 Club. But there's controversy about where that money is going.
Even now, nearly four weeks to the day since four brave Houston firefighters gave their lives in the line of duty, huge donations continue to pour in.
A check for $43,000 was presented Thursday to the Houston Professional Firefighters Association, but the overwhelming majority of the money that generous Houstonians gave to help the families went to the 100 Club.
In fact, the 100 Club admits it has collected roughly a half million dollars, but so far no one, not the families of the four killed or the 13 firefighters injured, have gotten one red cent.
"When there is a single hero, we offer $20,000 to help with any funeral-related expense. That was told to the families after this tragedy took place," said Rick Hartley, 100 Club Executive Director.
Hartley says it's the way this charity's rules have worked. Under their rules, donations benefit the spouses and children of the fallen, and given the fact these four firefighters were all single, without children, there isn't anyone to give the money to.
So the most those firefighters mothers and fathers sisters and brothers can get is $20,000 for funeral expenses.
And what happens to all the rest of the money collected so far?
"At least $200,000 of that, half of that, is going to educate the children of the firefighter who was critically injured. And more than likely, there'll be another significant amount of money going to help that family as well," Hartley said.
Late Thursday, the 100 Club announced it met with the Houston Fire Department about the needs of those four families. The organization says it will make an exception to its policy and provide money to meet the financial needs of those families for the next year.
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