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F-M helps displaced renters rebound from Galleria fire

Stacked along the walls, floors and any other available surface inside the Shepherd of the Prairie Church are donations from the community ranging from new clothing and beds to small appliances, pillows and home d?cor.

Fire meeting
Carol Cwiak of NDSU's Emergency Management Program addresses Galleria On 42nd apartment residents during a meeting Friday at Kennedy Elementary in south Fargo. David Samson / The Forum

Stacked along the walls, floors and any other available surface inside the Shepherd of the Prairie Church are donations from the community ranging from new clothing and beds to small appliances, pillows and home décor.

Shepherd of the Prairie is designated as the primary donation/distribution site for victims of the Galleria On 42nd fire.

The community has responded with so much generosity for the fire victims that the church no longer has the space to take in more items and is now only accepting money or gift cards for the victims.

Still, the more than 150 residents displaced by Monday night's catastrophic fire will have a long road in rebuilding their lives.

"Whatever you're experiencing, whatever that is, it's a normal reaction to an abnormal event, so give yourself some slack," Jackie Crawford of The Red River Resilience told residents Friday evening.


About 100 Galleria tenants who lost their homes to Monday night's fire attended an informational meeting at Kennedy Elementary School on Friday night.

Carol Cwiak with North Dakota State University Disaster Management said the event was held to let residents know assistance is available. Cwiak's two sons are also victims of the fire.

Galleria resident Carrie Tuomala said everyone has been very helpful.

"It's going very smoothly, they've been great to us," Tuomala said, mostly in reference to IMM management and marketing, the building owners.

Property supervisor Doug Pfau spoke to Friday night's crowd, saying he and the property group were devastated by the fire also.

"Our No. 1 goal is to take care of the residents, though," Pfau said.

The management group has already cut and distributed security deposit checks and prorated rents to all residents. The group also worked with officials to allow residents back into their homes for property retrieval in about two days.

Pfau drew applause from the crowd for his work this past week. He also informed residents he will be available over the weekend and Monday to continue escorting tenants back into the building for property retrieval. Unsalvageable items can be left in the complex, but a release must be signed. Tenants will not be charged for items left in the building.


A long-term recovery fund has also been set up by United Way of Cass-Clay.

The fund is designed to address unmet needs after insurance claims are processed.

"One hundred percent of that money donated to the recovery fund is going to you. We are not taking out any administrative funds," said Melinda Haun, President of the United Way of Cass-Clay.

Tenants will have until Nov. 15 to apply for the long-term fund, which will be distributed on a case-by-case basis.

How to help

The United Way is collecting funds for long-term recovery. Donations can be made through the United Way online at www.unitedway

cassclay.org, by phone at (701) 237-5050 or by mail. Checks should be made payable to the United Way of Cass-Clay and sent to P.O. Box 1609, Fargo, ND 58103. Indicate 42nd Street Apartment Fire in the memo.

The Shepherd of the Prairie Church is no longer accepting donations of goods, but gift cards and monetary donations can still be dropped off at 6151 25th St. S., Fargo.


Spaghetti feed benefit

A spaghetti feed will be held Thursday to benefit the victims of the Galleria On 42nd fire.

The benefit, which will include a silent auction, will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at Teamster's Hall.

Funds raised will be donated to the victims of Monday night's fire, which displaced more than 150 residents.

The cost will be $5 at the door. Donations can also be made by calling the United Way at (701) 237-5050.

Reuer is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which, like the Herald, is owned by Forum Communications Co.

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