More than 30 residents of Lakeside Manor in Redwood Falls sat around tables at the Redwood Area Community Center Tuesday waiting for the opportunity to find out what is next for them.
The residents were displaced from their homes this past Thursday night when a fire was discovered in the local facility.
The damage to the building was severe enough that residents have not been allowed back in the building, with the exception of a few minutes to go into their apartments to get those items they really needed to have.
Since then, some have been residing with family, but a significant number of them have been receiving assistance that allowed them to stay in local hotel rooms, thanks in part to the assistance initially provided by the local Red Cross followed by the Salvation Army. That assistance is going to be ending soon, and those who have not found a more long-term residential solution were given a chance to find out what is available for them.
Several local organizations were on hand for a resource meeting to provide assistance for the residents.
Among those offering assistance were representatives of the Redwood County veterans services office, Western Community Action, the Salvation Army, RSVP, the West-ern Mental Health Cen-ter as well as those who had residential options, both temporary and long-term for the residents.
“These people are willing to help you get on the right road,” said Mark Dressen, Red-wood Falls police chief. “I want to encourage you to take advantage of it now.”
Nikki Warner, who manages Lakeside Manor, was encouraged by the number of residents who showed up, as well as by those who were there to offer assistance.
“It is going to be a good while before you are able to be home,” Warner told the residents, adding she plans to keep those residents informed about when they are going to be able to get in and collect more of their belongings.
The fire itself continues to be investigated, which is why the residents have not been allowed back into the facility.
As has been reported, one individual, Gene Gilland passed away as a result of the fire, and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was called into investigate the death. That investigation continues in conjunction with the police department.
Donations for the residents are being accepted, and those who would like to make a tax-deductible donation can do so through the Redwood Area Communities Founda-tion. Checks can be made out to the Redwood Area Com-munities Foundation and sent to PO Box 481, Redwood Falls, MN, 56283. Donations may also be dropped off at 200 South Mill Street, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.