While fire officials began their effort to determine what started a fire that destroyed most of a South Toledo apartment complex, relief agencies faced a more urgent task: finding replacement housing for about 200 displaced residents.
At a news conference, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner praised the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, which were providing aid to those affected by the fire.
He said finding new housing for the residents was critical.
Red Cross representatives were at the scene of the fire by
3:30 a.m. yesterday and provided food and water to residents. The Salvation Army also was on hand to assist the emergency responders.
Displaced residents were taken to the old Bowsher High School building nearby, where they were offered food, clothing, and shelter.
Of 93 families affected, 70 have registered with the Red Cross, making them eligible for stipends and assistance.
Ken Robinson, director of programs and services for the Toledo chapter, said the Red Cross is providing meals for those who are staying at the Bowsher shelter while those who are staying elsewhere will receive a stipend that will cover food expenses.
The emergency food stipend is worth about $50 for a single person. The amount for families increases based on the number of family members.
Mr. Robinson encouraged recipients to use their food stipends at the Northwest Ohio Food Bank, which offered discounts to displaced individuals.
Each displaced person also will receive a $130 stipend for clothing and shoes.
The Bowsher shelter opened at about 6 a.m. Saturday, 4 1/2 hours after the fire broke out.
Case management will be available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, but the shelter will remain open as long as necessary, said Tim Yenrick, the regional leader of the Greater Toledo chapter of the Red Cross.
Red Cross representatives and volunteers also will offer fire victims assistance in finding new apartments.
Kattie Bond, the city's director of neighborhoods, said the Georgetown Village apartments, 3045 Ilger Ave., had 10 one-bedroom units and 20 two-bedroom units available.
Bob Reinbolt, the mayor's chief of staff, said the city was "making sure we're meeting the needs of families affected. We're going to do whatever we can do."
Property managers and landlords can alert the American Red Cross to available units by calling 419-329-2672 and leaving a message.
People wishing to donate gifts to benefit families affected by the fire are asked to donate clothing by dropping them off at any Goodwill and ask that their gifts be used to support the Hunters Ridge fire victims, who will receive a voucher for the Goodwill store at 525 Cherry St.
Contact Meredith Byers at: