Holmen agencies helping those affected by apartment fire

Holmen agencies helping those...

HOLMEN, Wis. (WKBT) - As the people living in a Holmen apartment building that was destroyed by a fire try to find a place to stay, other agencies around the area are pitching in to help. When first responders were called to the scene, the village immediately went into action by calling on others to help these residents in their time of need. 

When the fire broke out shortly before noon, the Holmen Area Fire Department was able to quickly evacuate the people inside. 

"Everybody was able to get out. The Police Department assisted greatly with that," said Holmen Fire Chief Paul Menches. 

Animal control came to the scene to help rescue any animals inside the building. Mark Olson's son and the son's fiancee live in one of the apartments. Olson said that workers were able to save their beloved pets.

"Which was a big plus. That's about all they have left," Olson said.

Both the Fire Department and the Police Departments then began making plans about how to get those affected to safety and where to take them. The school district was contacted in case buses were needed, while village officials were given a different task.

"The Holmen Fire Department had been working to stay in communication with them to find an appropriate spot to move some of residents out of the cold," said Chris McArdle Rojo, director of the La Crosse County Library. 

Village officials called on the local library to open up its meeting space. It would be one of the first times the space would be in use since the branch opened last fall. 

"The community provided this facility for us and this is our way to support the community by giving this space back to them," McArdle Rojo said. 

She said staff will be working with the village to keep the room open as long as it is needed. 

"Whatever we can do to help, we want to be able to," McArdle Rojo said.  

Now, law enforcement officials are working with local nonprofits to find more long-term help for the people and families who were displaced. 

"We'll have Salvation Army and Red Cross available to help us out," said Holmen Police Chief Shane Collins.

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