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Red Cross seeks donations for Lindsay fire victims

Sunday, October 23, 2011

More than three-dozen senior and disabled residents were still not back in their homes Sunday night.

Saturday, a fire broke out at the Mt. Whitney apartment complex in Lindsay. One unit was completely destroyed. The others suffer extensive smoke and water damage.

Initially, residents were told they probably wouldn't be able to come back for two weeks. But, we're told that's been upgraded to a couple of days. In the meantime, more donations are needed.

A clean-up crew spent all day Sunday draining water and restoring power to the Mt. Whitney apartment complex in Lindsay. 38 people were displaced by Saturday morning's fire, including Martha Atchison.

Martha Atchison, resident said, "There was a fire in one of the apartments on the second floor and they evacuated all the whole building cause the power went out."

Atchison and about 25 of her neighbors have since been staying at the nearby Lindsay City Park Community Center. Red Cross volunteers are working tirelessly to find them a more permanent home. But, for now the residents are sleeping on cots. Volunteers are asking the public for food and clothing to help them get by.

Bob Wilson, Red Cross said, "We're just trying to take care of the folks and keep them comfortable, meet as many needs as we can until we figure out what the next steps gonna be."

Red Cross officials say dealing with so many displaced people as the result of just one fire, is unusual.

Wilson said, "This is one where a number of people were displaced, not so much by the fire, but by smoke, turning electricity off, water damage, so we're got people than we normally deal with.

Fire investigators tell Action News the blaze broke out after someone hung clothing too close to a light bulb. And while only one unit was destroyed, the others suffered extensive water damage because of the automatic sprinkler system-which went off throughout the whole building. Despite the loss, residents say are grateful for the help they've received so far.

"I think it's real nice for them to do this because we had to have a place to stay," said Atchison. "We couldn't stay out in the open."

If you'd like to help, you can drop off supplies at the Lindsay City Park Community Center or you can call the Red Cross.

Fire officials say most of the power has been restored to the building, so they are hopeful in getting residents back in their homes early this week.

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Tags:
lindsay, tulare county, fire, local
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