Fire victims spend 9th night away from home

ST. ANN (KSDK) – Saturday night marked the ninth night 161 fire victims have had to spend away from home.

They were displaced by the fire that broke out at the Santa Ana apartments in St. Ann, which serve the elderly and people with disabilities. The fire, which broke out on the top floor of the building, caused the sprinklers to go off flooding all of the apartments below it. For more than a week, crews have been cleaning up while some residents have become desperate to get back home.

Two of those residents are Dennis Politte and Don Wildgrube. They are among those who have been living at a Super 8 down the street.

"This room is nice but I can't get around that well in it," said Don, who uses a wheelchair.

The owner of the Santa Ana apartments has been paying for a block of rooms at a different motel from where Dennis and Don are staying. But not everyone could fit. So, some residents have been paying out of their own pockets with the promise they'll be reimbursed.

"I've been using the emergency money I had," said Kaleope Goldman, who is also staying at the Super 8.

Dennis was out of his emergency money and tells us he was not getting any help from the apartment manager, so he called NewsChannel 5. We called the landlord, who then paid for Dennis' room until Monday, which is when residents are expected to be allowed back in their units. But hotel rooms don't have the accommodations the residents are used to, like the system that allows Dennis to take a shower since he also uses a wheelchair.

"[It's been] seven days without a shower," said Dennis.

The residents are also without access to their clothes and other belongings, not to mention their kitchens.

"I can't cook here, I've got a microwave. I'm living off of pizza," Don said.

"[I] get whatever I could get from the Phillips 66 station, and the continental breakfast," Dennis said.

While the residents say they understand why they're being kept from their homes, it's the waiting for when they'll be allowed back home that's pushing them to their breaking points.

"It's [the] not knowing that hurts," Dennis said.

A spokesman for the apartment owners tells NewsChannel 5 they're waiting for the city to inspect the building and sign off on the clean up.


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