The donations were piling up Thursday morning in the entryway of William B. Travis Vanguard and Academy Magnet School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas' uptown neighborhood. They are for lead custodian, Joe Olvera.

"Everything's all messed up," Olvera said about his Dallas apartment. "We heard a pop and our dog started barking. My wife got up and said, 'honey there's a fire'!"

Early Monday morning, a neighbor's apartment in the Vernon Oaks Apartments in Dallas caught fire. The flames and the efforts to fight the fire left three units unlivable, including the Olveras'.


"This is a horrible tragedy that happened to Joe," Principal Tom Brandt said. "But it's an opportunity for our community to give back to someone who cares so much about our school, and our kids, and our community."

NBC 5 first profiled Olvera when he took it upon himself to camp out in the faculty room of the school during February's cold winter storm, spending the night so he could keep watch for burst pipes in the aging school.

The school put out a call for donations and set up a donation page to help replace what was lost in the fire. The community responded.

"Things like pillows, sheets, mattresses, all the things that you take for granted every day was wiped out, was taken from him," Brandt said. "He's here when we need him, so when he needs us, we step up and do whatever it takes to make sure Joe's ok."

"We're just like family. They love me like a family. We love each other like a family," Olvera said. "I'd do anything for them and they'd do anything for me."