Manitowoc fire victims return to apartments for belongings



Fire victims were allowed back into their Manitowoc apartments to gather belongings Wednesday.

One person was killed and about 85 others were displaced after a fire at Parkview Haven Apartments last week.

Residents arrived late Wednesday morning and into the afternoon with suitcases, totes, and plastic bags to grab some of their belongings.  Some were given one box.

A week after the fire Red Cross is still providing shelter to about 14 victims at Wilson Junior High School. 

North East Wisconsin American Red Cross Executive Director Steve Hansen said the return process will take place in stages.  Only first floor residents were permitted to enter Wednesday.

One resident rode his bicycle to the apartments Wednesday to get his clothes.  Bill Lapen has lived in the building for nine years.  He said he's still dealing with emotions from the night of the fire. 

"Someone passed away for one thing, but it’s another thing just to come back here,” he said.  “I have no idea what's going to happen.  I'm sure things will be fine and everything, but who knows."

A Manitowoc fire department captain said the cause of the fire is still undetermined.  The Red Cross opened 70 cases for victims so far.

Hansen said it might be three weeks before residents can move back.

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