Littleton

Seniors wait to return to Littleton apartment building after fire

By Chris Rotar
Posted 4/6/16

Residents of a Littleton apartment building for seniors were still awaiting word the morning of April 8 on when they could return home following a fire that forced them to evacuate.

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Littleton

Seniors wait to return to Littleton apartment building after fire

Posted

Residents of a Littleton apartment building for seniors were still awaiting word the morning of April 8 on when they could return home following a fire that forced them to evacuate.

Meanwhile, employees with the Humane Society of the South Platte Valley were working to retrieve at least 10 cats that had yet to be evacuated after the April 6 fire.

Four residents were taken to a local hospital for minor injuries and smoke inhalation the day of the fire, officials said. The cause of the fire may not be determined until next week, according to a city spokeswoman.

More than 20 residents spent the night of April 6 and 14 the night of April 7 in a Red Cross shelter at a church a block away, while others who live in the 130-unit building made arrangements to stay with friends or family, or possibly, in a hotel.

Smoke and water damage in the wake of the fire that started on the fourth floor weren't the only things keeping residents out of their apartments at Southview Place Towers, 5820 S. Windermere St.

Air-quality tests were conducted April 7 and were being finalized the next morning in response to concerns about the building's asbestos.

The shelter at Littleton United Methodist Church, 5894 S. Datura St., has been a temporary home for evacuated seniors for two nights — and maybe longer.

"We'll keep it open as long as people don't have a place to say," said Patricia Billinger, communications director for the local Red Cross.

Jo Schaefer, who lives on the second floor of the five-story apartment building, showed up at the entrance of the 55-and-over complex at about 4:30 p.m. April 7 in hopes of retrieving some of her belongings. Like others, she was told she wouldn't be allowed to enter.

"I would like to get my renter's insurance information," she said, adding that she also wanted a change of clothes.

Also unable to enter the building April 7 were employees from the Humane Society of the South Platte Valley, based in Littleton. They were there with the goal of retrieving 15 cats that remained inside. The same number of pets — a service dog among them — were rescued the previous day.

By the next morning, personnel from the Humane Society were able to enter and begin their rescue. At 9 a.m., two cats waited outside the building in small cages to be reunited with their owners, while at least 10 more remained inside.

Schaefer considers herself one of the lucky residents. She was staying with her daughter in Denver.

"Thank god for family," she said.

The hardest part of the ordeal?

"Not knowing how long this is going to go on," Schaefer said.

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