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140+ residents return to Kinston Towers after fire forced evacuation

Published On: Jun 26 2013 03:06:02 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 18 2013 05:54:32 PM CDT
KINSTON, LENOIR COUNTY -

Three weeks after a Lenoir County apartment fire that forced more than 140 residents to evacuate, the victims have returned home.

The residents moved back to Kinston Towers, at 511 N. Queen St., Thursday morning. The 11-story government housing apartment was evacuated on July 26, when a fire started in the building's first-floor electrical room, investigators said. An exact cause was unknown.

Authorities said 141 elderly residents, many of them disabled, were evacuated. Out of those victims, 91 were taken to Fairfield Recreation Center in Kinston.

The American Red Cross, N.C. Baptist Men, First Baptist Church, the Salvation Army, Kinston Fire and Safety, and Lenoir County Emergency Management helped the residents when the building was closed.

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More than 140 residents will have to wait longer than expected before returning to their Lenoir County apartment that caught fire last week. Housing officials said repairs may take up to a month to complete.

According to the Kinston Housing Authority, it will take three to four weeks to repair Kinston Towers, a 11-story government housing apartment located at 511 N. Queen St.

The fire started at about 1:30 a.m. on June 26 in the building's first-floor electrical room, investigators said. An exact cause was unknown.

Authorities said 141 elderly residents, many of them disabled, were evacuated. Out of those victims, 91 were taken to Fairfield Recreation Center in Kinston.

Officials had originally predicted that the residents would be able to return home within 10 days. But according to the Kinston Housing Authority, electrical repairs could take up to a month. Residents can return only after the repairs are complete.

"I just have to wait," said Mattie Cannon, a Kinston Towers resident. "I have nowhere else to go."

"It's a little discouraging but I'll have to deal with it," said Deborah Ward, another resident.

The Kinston Housing Authority will continue to temporarily house the victims at local hotels. The American Red Cross will help serve daily meals.

Residents who are staying with family or friends and would like a hotel room can call (252) 523-1195, extension 0.

No injuries were reported in the fire, officials said.

To help the victims of the fire, visit the American Red Cross website.