Following a fire last week at the Emerson Manor Apartments in Hoquiam, and extensive water damage, bacteria reports from runoff water on Monday were found to be excessively high, resulting in an evacuation of all 60+ tenants of the building.
Tenants of the Emerson were notified in a meeting Monday afternoon that they needed to collect their valuables and necessary clothing to be transferred to the Immanuel Baptist Church in Hoquiam for the night. Many tenants were forced to leave their pets behind, transferred to local foster homes until they can be reunited with their owners.
The Department of Social & Health Services, the Red Cross, Grays Harbor Community Hospital, Grays Harbor County Public Health, Channel Point Village, and numerous other local agencies have been working on this incident.
Tenants evacuated the building with their belongings in less than 3 hours. According to Grays Harbor County Emergency Management, the focus now is to find better, longer term living arrangements for all of the tenants.
The Emerson Manor tenants are mainly low income, senior citizens, many with specific disabilities. On Monday, they had to leave their home, most of their personal belongings and furniture for an extended period of time. Some have family and friends to assist and stay with during the building rehabilitation, but most have nowhere else to turn. They have left their home with literally the shirts on their back and little else.
The majority of tenants have no insurance covering them for this event, nor assistance to help purchase new clothing, furniture and appliances lost due to the water damage.
Anchor Bank, also displaced due to the fire, has set up a fund to assist the residents called the Emerson Manor Assistance Fund. Only monetary donations will be accepted for this incident, because each tenant has specific needs. Anchor Bank locations throughout Grays Harbor County will accept donations.