The Villager tenants still out of a home

Occupants of a downtown apartment complex that caught fire Sunday morning are still displaced, and exactly when they will be able to re-occupy their homes is still in limbo.

Stacie Perry, property manager at The Villager, 105 N. Center St., said everyone involved with the relief effort is trying to get the tenants back into their homes as soon as possible, but it is ultimately the city that will determine when that will be possible.

Perry said the insurance adjuster and a cleaning crew were on scene Monday afternoon, and the city inspector will have the final say as to when the roughly two dozen residents of the 21-apartment building can return home. Estimates originally put the building re-opening Tuesday.

However, the Marshalltown Fire Department needed to cut a hole in the roof to extinguish hot spots following the third-floor blaze just after 6 a.m. Sunday.

“We have to find out what repairs we need to do to get everybody safely back in the building,” Perry said. “We are hoping this will be pretty quick.”

The MFD estimates the damage to the building and its contents at $75,000. Firefighters were on scene for roughly four hours.

Marshalltown Fire Chief Steve Edwards said the fire department believes the fire’s cause to be accidental but will leave the investigation open in case the insurance adjuster has discrepancies with the findings.

Two people were injured during the fire, one for burns to his hands and another for non-fire related injuries. Officials had not released the victims’ names as of Monday afternoon.

The Red Cross put those displaced in hotel rooms and provided food and comfort kits, including clothes and toiletries, said Kara Kelly, with the Red Cross.

Perry said she has already begun talking to other apartment managers to relocate tenants should the building take longer than anticipated to be made inhabitable. Many of the tenants of The Villager are below the poverty line or on Social Security, so there are few places in town that can accommodate them.

“Income is a big factor to where our tenants are going to go,” she said. “Our tenants are great people who have had pretty hard lives – some of them.”

Marshalltown Police Department, Alliant Energy, Red Cross and Marshalltown Area Paramedic Services assisted the MFD with the fire.