Volunteers began helping residents move their belongings out of Littleton's Southview Place Towers on April 21, two days after the seniors learned they would not be allowed to move back in because of …
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Volunteers began helping residents move their belongings out of Littleton's Southview Place Towers on April 21, two days after the seniors learned they would not be allowed to move back in because of fire damage.
An April 6 fire on the fourth floor of the apartments at 5820 S. Windemere St. caused enough damage to make the building uninhabitable for at least six months, a spokesman for the building's owner said. The leases of the 132 tenants were terminated on April 19.
"These folks have just experienced a traumatic loss," said Kathryn Roy, executive director of Littleton nonprofit group Love Inc., who is helping to coordinate the volunteer effort. "They're grieving — they're the grieving the loss of a community."
Residents will continue to move their belongings out of the building over the next 10 days.
Volunteers from Love Inc., Boy Scouts of America, the Knights of Columbus and the Church of Latter Day Saints joined movers provided by the property owner in hauling furniture, clothing and other belongings out to moving trucks, keeping the items separated by apartment number.
The building is safe to enter but not safe to live in at this point, said Andy Boian, CEO of Dovetail Solutions, a public-relations and crisis-management firm based in Denver.
Residents will be refunded their deposits and a pro-rated amount of their April rent, and will also receive $500 from the building's owner to help pay for a new place.
A letter from ownership to the tenants said the building's heating and air, fire alarm and sprinkler systems had been damaged and will need to be upgraded to current safety codes.
"Our No. 1 priority is to ensure that life safety issues are addressed as the building is repaired," Fire marshal Tim Stover, of Littleton Fire Rescue, said in a news release. "Certain parts of the building will need to be upgraded to comply with the International Building and Fire Codes."
According to city spokeswoman Kelli Narde, the city issued building permits for renovation less than 48 hours after the fire.
The building was built in the early 1970s. A second building in the complex, located along Datura Street, was not damaged.
In addition to moving help, vouchers for clothing, grocery gift cards and transportation have been donated to the residents.
Roy said that many residents do not know where they will go now.
"Some of them don't even know where their storage is going to be," she said.
Narde said that the investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, but arson is not suspected.
"This community has come together in every way possible to help the residents affected by this fire," Mayor Bruce Beckman said in a news release. "I want to thank everyone involved in helping with this difficult situation."
The American Red Cross is operating a resource center at the Life Center at 5804 S. Datura St. to meet the needs of those displaced by the fire. This week, the center is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is scheduled to be open through Wednesday, April 27.
The most pressing needs are for:
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