Hudson Malone fire started in kitchen - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hudson Malone fire started in kitchen

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – We now know a kitchen fire led to the evacuation of a public housing complex in Albany Monday. Many of the people forced out of Hudson Malone Towers in Albany will be allowed to return soon, but not all.

Monday night, most residents stayed with family or friends. The Red Cross put others up in a hotel.

The people who live in Hudson Malone Towers are, generally speaking, elderly or disabled. So when fire forced everyone to be evacuated from the building yesterday, it was a major undertaking.

When the fire alarm sounded Monday afternoon, Pat Landin was sound asleep.  Fortunately her puppy pounced on her to get her attention.  She said, "Took his paw and kept patting my cheek 'til I woke up and then he started acting real crazy, running to the door in my apartment and back barking and carrying on and then I heard the fire alarm."

Landin is disabled, and since the electricity was cut off, she wasn't able to leave the building on her own. So, she had to be carried down from the 5th floor. "The firemen, four of them," she said, "carried me down five flights of stairs."

James Turner was awake when the alarm went off, but he didn't think much of it.  He said, "I opened the door and I said, 'oh, it's nothing', and when I checked it again, the whole hallway was black and I saw the firefighters walking up and down so that meant for me to get out so that's what I did."

So Turner, who has cerebral palsey, grabbed his crutches and headed down the stairs. Tonight, he's hoping to head back home. "I'm hoping that everything is goipalsypalsyy for everybody's sake because I know a lot of people are ready to back home 'cause I know I am." But that may not happen for palsyne right away.

Housing Authority Director Dan McCarthy said, "Most of our damage was contained there from the fire, but we had smoke damage and water damage. The water is pretty much from the 5th floor all the way down to the 1st floor on the West wing of the building."

Which means the people who live in the west wing won't be living here for a while. "Probably at least 5 to seven days and we will be doing it in stages, one floor at a time as we're able to clear a floor. So some people may have to be waiting more than a couple weeks."

The good news is most of the residents in the 95 unit complex have family and friends to stay with while they are out of their apartments. About 10 will be put up by the Red Cross while repairs are made.

27 people were put up in a hotel by the Red Cross Monday night. 17 of them should be able to return to their apartments tonight.  The people who were evacuated were given blankets by Palmyra Hospital, and local restaurants donated meals for them.

Red Cross Steps in to help

As soon as they got the call about that fire yesterday, the Red Cross responded and worked to find temporary shelter for those in need. Providing those critical services is becoming increasingly difficult for the Red Cross. Donations are down this year, and the need is up.

Executive Director Mari Wright said, "Everything we do is strictly from donations from the community so we do need donations. We'll just, get through the best we can, but if the community can help us, we will be so appreciative."

The Red Cross doesn't receive any money from the federal government. You can help the Red Cross help others. If you want to make a donation to the Southwest Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross, you can stop by their office at 500 Pine Avenue.

The Albany Housing Authotrity provided this Status Report:

The East wing of the Hudson Malone Towers, units 101-111, 201-211, 301-311, 401-411Authority511 are now operational. Residents may return until approximately 7 P.M. tonight, 12/15/09, and beginning again in the morning at 8 A.M.  A staff member will escort returning residents to their apartment to insure that it is safe to occupy and to monitor who has returned to the building.

Residents in apartments 212-214, 312-314, 412-414, and 512-514 need to check in at the Hudson Malone Towers to determine if their apartment is ready to re-occupy.

Residents in apartments 215-221, 315-321, 415-421, and 515-521 will not be able to return until further notice due to water issues in those areas.  Water removal is currently underway, but it will likely be at least 7 days before we will be able to begin allowing some of the residents from these apartments to return.

For further information, please call: Albany Housing Authority, Hudson Malone Towers, 438-2365.

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