Connect with us

General

Temporary housing extended for tenants after apartment fire


Temporary housing has been extended for tenants of the Thomas Campbell Apartments in South Strabane, Washington County, after a fire forced many out of their apartments one week ago.The Red Cross and Salvation Army both helped in the effort to house the displaced tenants over the past week. The Salvation Army extended their stay two more weeks.Meanwhile, the apartment’s board of director’s president, Arthur Keys, said he’s actively finding housing for beyond tenants’ hotel stay.Mabel Cross is one of 60 tenants displaced due to fire, water, or smoke damage.“The bathroom ceiling fell down, and it’s all flooded,” Cross said.She and 37 others are temporarily calling the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, “home.”“This place is outstanding. You couldn’t ask for a better crew out here,” Cross said.The Suburban Extended Stay Hotel also housed at least 40 additional residents who had to be evacuated from the apartment complex Wednesday afternoon. Those residents were able to return to their apartments within 24 hours. Keys said elevators in the building were being inspected Wednesday afternoon when an issue was detected in one of the elevator smoke alarms. Keys explained there is a smoke alarm system connected to the facility elevators. He said the issue was repaired quickly, and the repair was approved by the inspector. The elevators are now fully functional. Keys said he is working to secure nearby affordable housing for the 60 people still displaced after the two-week period ends, while hoping the repairs move quickly.“I think that in a couple weeks the units with minimal water or smoke damage, that we’ll be able to move a good number of people back,” Keys said.Eugene Ogrodowski remembers waking up to smoke and trying to alert his neighbors, starting with Frances Venen.“I started knocking on her door, and I couldn’t hear nothing, She didn’t answer,” Venen said.Everyone made it out, but Venen and several others had to be taken to the hospital. South Strabane fire Chief Scott Reese said Venen died three days later. The cause of death is still unknown.“She was a little lady, and she always wore hats, like me, but she was sweet. I always talk to her speak to her,” Thomas Campbell Apartments tenant, Ernest Matthews said.”We all were her friend. She was a sweet little lady,” Cross said.There are two funds set up to support the tenants who have lost some or all of their belongings.The Thomas Campbell Apartments board is accepting donations through its activities fund is for tenants’ expenses not covered by insurance. Donations by check can be mailed to Thomas Campbell Apartments at 850 Beech St., Washington, PA 15301. The checks should be written out to “Thomas Campbell Activities Fund.”Becky Friend is holding a fundraiser dinner from 1 to 4 p.m. on Jan. 15 at the American Legion on Park Ave in Washington, PA. Adult tickets will cost $10. Tickets for Children ages 3-12 will cost $5, and tickets for children under 3-years-old are free. All proceeds will go into a bank account fund set up explicitly to help the Thomas Campbell residents when they get back into their apartments.

Temporary housing has been extended for tenants of the Thomas Campbell Apartments in South Strabane, Washington County, after a fire forced many out of their apartments one week ago.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army both helped in the effort to house the displaced tenants over the past week. The Salvation Army extended their stay two more weeks.

Meanwhile, the apartment’s board of director’s president, Arthur Keys, said he’s actively finding housing for beyond tenants’ hotel stay.

Mabel Cross is one of 60 tenants displaced due to fire, water, or smoke damage.

“The bathroom ceiling fell down, and it’s all flooded,” Cross said.

She and 37 others are temporarily calling the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, “home.”

“This place is outstanding. You couldn’t ask for a better crew out here,” Cross said.

The Suburban Extended Stay Hotel also housed at least 40 additional residents who had to be evacuated from the apartment complex Wednesday afternoon. Those residents were able to return to their apartments within 24 hours.

Keys said elevators in the building were being inspected Wednesday afternoon when an issue was detected in one of the elevator smoke alarms. Keys explained there is a smoke alarm system connected to the facility elevators. He said the issue was repaired quickly, and the repair was approved by the inspector. The elevators are now fully functional.

Keys said he is working to secure nearby affordable housing for the 60 people still displaced after the two-week period ends, while hoping the repairs move quickly.

“I think that in a couple weeks the units with minimal water or smoke damage, that we’ll be able to move a good number of people back,” Keys said.

Eugene Ogrodowski remembers waking up to smoke and trying to alert his neighbors, starting with Frances Venen.

“I started knocking on her door, and I couldn’t hear nothing, She didn’t answer,” Venen said.

Everyone made it out, but Venen and several others had to be taken to the hospital.

South Strabane fire Chief Scott Reese said Venen died three days later. The cause of death is still unknown.

“She was a little lady, and she always wore hats, like me, but she was sweet. I always talk to her speak to her,” Thomas Campbell Apartments tenant, Ernest Matthews said.

“We all were her friend. She was a sweet little lady,” Cross said.

There are two funds set up to support the tenants who have lost some or all of their belongings.

The Thomas Campbell Apartments board is accepting donations through its activities fund is for tenants’ expenses not covered by insurance.

Donations by check can be mailed to Thomas Campbell Apartments at 850 Beech St., Washington, PA 15301. The checks should be written out to “Thomas Campbell Activities Fund.”

Becky Friend is holding a fundraiser dinner from 1 to 4 p.m. on Jan. 15 at the American Legion on Park Ave in Washington, PA. Adult tickets will cost $10. Tickets for Children ages 3-12 will cost $5, and tickets for children under 3-years-old are free. All proceeds will go into a bank account fund set up explicitly to help the Thomas Campbell residents when they get back into their apartments.

Copyright © 2020 AMSNBC News