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Mount Vernon apartment fire leaves hundreds displaced

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Mount vernon apt fire


MOUNT VERNON – The fire, itself, was devastating enough.  Five people, including a police officer, were injured in last Tuesday’s fire at the Cascade West Apartments in Mount Vernon. Now, hundreds of apartment residents are displaced, including dozens of farm workers who had arrived recently from California, the Skagit Valley Herald reported.

The farm workers were expecting to start working in the area, and have housing provided.  Now, with more than 200 apartment residents displaced, some local nonprofit community groups are scrambling to come up with housing options, the paper reported.

Skagit Valley College has been a temporary fix, as the college and Mount Baker Red Cross have been sheltering 75 people.  The college is right across the street from the apartment building on College Way, in Mount Vernon.

“I don’t think the community has ever seen anything like that (problem),” Jose Ortiz, the social outreach director for Skagit Valley Catholic Churches told the paper.

“We’ve been working over a month on housing for farm workers. Now with this situation, it’s going to be so much harder,” he said. “We can only do so much.”

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It’s still unclear how many people have been affected, Skagit County Housing Authority Director Melanie Corey, the Herald reported.

As they figure that out, they’re also checking for open Housing Authority apartments to use as temporary housing for some of the displaced people. But options are limited.

“We were already facing a shortage and a crisis with migrant farm workers coming into the valley expecting housing and not finding housing, and then to compound that with the situation that happened last night, yes, that will strain resources,” she told the paper.



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