30 people displaced before Christmas after apartment fire in Racine

NOW: 30 people displaced before Christmas after apartment fire in Racine

RACINE (CBS 58) --- Holiday plans may look a little different for dozens of families after a fire forced them out of their homes Monday.

It happened at a 40-unit apartment building on Washington Avenue in Racine that is now boarded up. The fire impacted more than half of the apartments in the building, displacing 30 people.

The Red Cross is assisting some of those people with a temporary shelter at Grace Church.

"They can come here for a safe, warm place to stay. If they need food. Just comfort care. Somebody to talk to about what they’ve been through,” said Jennifer Warren with the Red Cross.

The Racine Fire Department says damage to the building is estimated at $750,000. The third-floor interior and attic were impacted the most.

Tyler Townsend

Alice Hansen

Earl James Brown is one of the residents displaced. He says he had just moved to the first floor of the building, which now has major water damage. "I just purchased new mattresses, new electronics, new throw rugs for the floor," he said.

The fire destroyed everything, along with all the food he had just purchased for Christmas dinner.

Despite what he lost, he's trying to stay positive. "There's not too much you can do but keep a smile, and being down about the situation is not going to help," he said.

As Brown and his neighbors wait to learn next steps, Brown says he's counting his blessings.

"I'm really hurt but life goes on. You can replace all the stuff. Life can't be replaced," he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Anyone wanting to donate to help those impacted can contact the Red Cross.

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