Victims of Royal Suite Apartment fire look to rebuild after losing everything

Published: Feb. 16, 2017 at 4:23 PM AKST
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For the roughly 70 people displaced, by Wednesday morning's Royal Suites Apartment fire, the sense of shock and disbelief is now being replaced by the impact and trauma they experienced.

As of Thursday, there are 21 people staying overnight at the Red Cross shelter, located at the Spenard Recreation Center. That number is down from 37, less than 24-hours earlier.

Red Cross officials say that many of the people originally staying overnight have left the shelter to stay with family and friends, while a few others have opted to stay at a local hotel.

Beginning Thursday, Red Cross officials say they will begin connecting everyone impacted with resources to get back on their feet and replace anything that might be missing. This includes clothes, house hold items, a car and mental health assistance.

"Right now, it's all about knowing they're safe," said Robin Thompson, a Red Cross volunteer. "Their families safe, and many can't think about those next steps. We're here to make sure they're here to take those steps."

The Southcentral Foundation has also been at the shelter, since it was opened on Wednesday morning. They have three counselors on site to help people understand their emotional trauma.

"People are not meant to contain the trauma and the horror that they witnessed," said KJ Worbey, clinical director of Southcentral Foundation. "Our ability to share that, and our ability to understand its impact on us and work through that, is vital. If we are not able to address that emotional trauma, it impacts us in all sorts of ways. In our relationships with other people and in our own physical and spiritual well-being."

Red Cross officials say the shelter, at the Spenard Recreation Center, will remain open until everyone impacted, by Wednesday's fire, has found transitional housing.