Families lost everything in the fire at a Mandan apartment complex on Monday. Now, the community is rallying together to support them.
It was just a little more than a year ago that one the apartment buildings went up in flames.
We spoke with two families that are now having to start over because of another fire.
“There’s pounding on the door. The officer was running down the halls, telling everyone to get out. The buildings on fire,” shared Theresa Thompson.
“The next thing we know we hear yelling in the hall, and we were just kind of thinking it’s some tenants or something that are yelling. You know, next thing you know there’s somebody banging on our door. Like basically kicking our door down telling us we have to get out and that there’s a fire,” said Austin and Jocelyn Corcoran.
Almost 40 families have been displaced by this year’s fire at and one of them, along with their daughter, is just one of the many that don’t have a place to call home.
“You know, there was no fire alarms, there was– We had no indication that there was even a fire. We didn’t smell any smoke. By the time we got outside, everybody was outside and it was like we were the last people to get outside and we were right next door to the fire,” shared Corcoran.
Some residents, like Thompson, were displaced by last year’s fire too. We spoke to her about a year ago and just when she thought everything was going to be OK, it happened again.
“Day by day of very angry– Finally just starting to feel happy and like my old self again, and then it goes and happens again. And I don’t know what I’m going to do now,” shared Thompson.
The organizers that helped with last year’s relief are back at square one.
Mandan’s Be A Good Neighbor program, the American Red Cross and the Mandan Lions Club are accepting donations for all family members at the Blackstone Hotel in Mandan.
“What we’re doing right now is we’re focusing on the immediate need. So getting those that were affected through the first 24-48 hours because it is the hardest,” explained Patty Barrette, the organizer for the fire relief.
They are looking for toiletries, clothes and monetary donations to help those affected by the fire and while the community is donating, they know this is just the beginning.
“But it’s probably going to be very similar to last year. I mean they’re going to need everything, everything for the house. So what we’re asking people to do right now is watch the Facebook page. But if there are community groups out there, church groups, school groups, whatever that are looking to band together. We are hoping this year to set up an adopt a family type of idea,” explained Barrette.
For the moment, this room serves as their headquarters for donations, but they are looking for a larger space as they are expecting to receive more items.
“As we move forward and we hopefully get a warehouse of some to use. Some kind of facility we can start taking in the bigger items and start helping them get set up,” explained Barrette.
Now, they are in need of volunteers, people to help sort through items and assist in the relief process.
To either donate or volunteer, contact organizers by CLICKING HERE.