Area rallies around Carlton fire victims
by Wendy Johnson and Lisa Baumann Pine Journal The 13 men, women and children who lost their homes in last week's Thorman Building apartment fire in Carlton are facing Christmas - as well as the days and weeks following - with very little or any ...
by Wendy Johnson and Lisa Baumann
The 13 men, women and children who lost their homes in last week's Thorman Building apartment fire in Carlton are facing Christmas - as well as the days and weeks following - with very little or any personal or household belongings.
Mike Lafave, who lived in the apartment building for four years with his girlfriend, Cathy McBride, didn't even escape with his cell phone.
"It's been really hectic," Lafave said of the week since the fire. "But, we've got a lot of support from the whole community and everyone has been really great."
Lafave also said he and McBride were the only two of the 13 who had renter's insurance.
"That's one recommendation I would make to every renter - to get renter's insurance today," he said.
Many of the people displaced by the fire have been temporarily moved into the Super 8 Motel in Cloquet thanks to American Red Cross Emergency Services. They will be able to stay for at least another week.
"Our volunteers are able to provide people with immediate lodging, replacement clothes and food, but for the long-term it's great the community is coming together to help, especially during the holidays and because of the kids involved," said Tony Guerra, American Red Cross emergency services director.
Organizations and businesses throughout the county are banding together to help out in whatever ways they can.
Lafave and McBride stayed at Super 8 for a few days until their employer, Black Bear Resort Casino, offered to put them up in their hotel.
Seven of the fire victims were employees at the Black Bear and in the aftermath, the staff there is pulling together to collect donations from employees to assure their coworkers and their families have as happy a Christmas as possible.
Members of the displaced families met with representatives of the Carlton County United Way on Tuesday to detail their specific needs.
According to United Way Director Carol Longseth, those needs include new or gently used household items such as beds, bedding, furniture, microwaves, vacuums, etc.
If you would like to donate household items for any of these individuals, call Volunteer Services of Carlton County at (218) 879-9238 to get a full list of items needed and donation procedures.
Monetary donations can be made to the Carlton County Fire Fund at the Wells Fargo banks in either Cloquet (1502 Highway 33 South) or Carlton (110 Third Street). Monetary donations will be used for temporary housing, food and deposit money for permanent housing.
There is also an immediate need for Christmas gifts for a newborn, 1-year-old boy, 2- and 3- year-old girls and a 15-year-old boy.
Unwrapped gifts or gift cards can be brought to Bethesda Lutheran Church, 204 Fifth Street, Carlton, between 8:30 a.m. and noon on Saturday, Dec. 22.
The Lost Isle bar and restaurant in Carlton will also hold a spaghetti feed and silent auction on Saturday, Dec. 29, with all the proceeds to benefit the families through the American Red Cross. Tickets for the event will cost $10 per person and can be purchased at the door. The benefit will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Lost Isle is located at 1675 Highway 210.