Update on Domestic Violence transitional housing fire
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- We are learning more about the victims of Monday's fire in Kennewick. The displaced residents were already overcoming big obstacles, living in transitional housing to either escape domestic violence or recovering from drug addiction through the Elijah Family Home program.
"When they've come there, they've lost everything. They're coming with essentially nothing to begin with. We help them. The unit is furnished. We help them with all the things they need," says Dan Aspiri, the Executive Director for Benton Franklin Domestic Violence Services.
But that housing unit was destroyed with what the Kennewick Fire Marshall, Mark Yaden is calling a cigarette fire which spread along the wall in the unit at 6702 W. First Avenue.
Now four families, including seven children are starting over once again. "Literally they left the apartment, and they were just standing out there with just underwear. That's what they got out with because they had to get out so quickly," says Aspiri.
Today, the building is being assessed by insurance companies, a restoration company and investigators. The families who lived there are staying in a hotel provided by the Red Cross. "They'll be in a hotel here for a couple of days. Potentially our emergency shelter, and then hopefully we can find them an actual apartment fairly shortly because these apartments are not going to be habitable, and we're hearing anything from three to eight months," says Aspiri.
Aspiri says he's not sure how much the damage is yet, but he says they'll be fronting out $20,000 minimum in the next six months. "With these clients not able to be there and for us to not receive that rental income, it is going to be a loss for us,"
In the meantime Benton Franklin Domestic Violence Services is accepting all kinds of donations from clothing to furniture to cash. They are located at 3311 West Clearwater Avenue Kennewick.
You can also donate online. By clicking here http://dvsbf.org/