Former tenants await answers in fatal Rapid City fire - KOTA Territory News

Former tenants await answers in fatal Rapid City fire

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The sting of painful memories from losing her home has almost subsided for Cynthia Red Star.
 
"I'm just happy, for the most part my children have survived the crisis. There hasn' t been as much trauma as I was afraid they might be," said Red Star, fire survivor.
 
Their new home is a far cry from the two bedroom motel room Red Star and her four children called home for more than a month.
 
For more than two months, Red Star and the other tenants of the Sixth Avenue dwelling have searched for housing, clarity and closure.  Now, their wait for answers is almost over. The fire investigation report is expected to be released in the coming days.
 
"We still all have that question. We still talk to each other and still want to know what happened? What happened? And to be able to say, 'Now I know what happened. I can close that, and move on'," said Red Star.
 
While the five-unit apartment building is being rebuilt, fire officials say it's also being improved.
 
"The main component that will be different is the installation of residential fire sprinkler protection system to ensure safety of occupants and residents. That structure was built before those regulations were in place," said Tim Behlings, Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention for the Rapid City Fire Department.
 
"When you're in that apartment setting, you don't have control what happens in your neighbors apartment. It has an effect on everybody like this [fire] did," said Red Star.
 
While Red Star settles into her new home and moves on, some of her former neighbors haven't been so lucky.
 
"There's a major lack of affordable safe housing for a larger family. Overall they're doing well, their spirits are good. They're happy. It's going to take a while for all of us to totally recover," said Red Star. 
 

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518 St. Joseph St.
Rapid City, SD 57701

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Fax: 605.342.7305

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