DES MOINES, Iowa -- On Thursday, one week after the fatal fire at Eddy Building that killed four people, residents were allowed back into their homes to salvage what they could.
Those who lived on the fourth floor, where the damage was greatest, have to wait until given the all clear by engineers.
Myra McNeary lives on the first floor, and even though she's out of a place to live, the Navy veteran considers herself lucky.
“Well one good thing about it, I didn’t unpack all my boxes, been here almost a year and I didn’t unpack all my boxes so hey! When life hands you lemons, make hot chocolate. I went to church Sunday and the pastor said, even though my building was on fire, some lost their lives when I’m still here, so I’m just trying to make the best out of a bad situation” said McNeary.
Shelter Manager Betty Devine says it’s tough for residents who lost items in the fire.
“No matter what they have, if it’s salvageable or not they want it because it’s part of them. So that’s been difficult for them and for us to help them depart with it but right now I think it’s going as well as can be expected” said Devine.
Polk county has been helping residents grab mattresses, TVs, anything that they can save. For some like McNeary, unfortunately they can’t grab everything.
“I have a lotta lotaa books. I’m a veracious reader and I couldn’t get all my books. I got what I could but I’m gonna talk to somebody and see if I can get the rest of ‘em, my books are like my kids” McNeary said with a wink.
Now residents must look forward, and case workers are on the job trying to find them their next place to live. A minor inconvenience compared to the scale of the fire.
“Now I gotta get back on the apartment hunt, but, I look at it like this; at least I’m still here, my son is in good health and we just have to start all over. I just grin and bear it, that’s all I can do” said McNeary.
Polk County is asking landlords with available apartments near bus routes to call 211 and leave their information. They hope to get residents settled into new accommodations as quickly as they can.