Fire forces out nine families

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Nine families and one business lost their homes Wednesday morning in a fire that virtually destroyed an apartment complex in Meeker.

Kathy Sizemore, spokeswoman for the Meeker Police Department said that no one was injured in the fire and that it was the result of an accident.

Sizemore said no report has been released at this time but fire department officials think the cause was the result of a candle falling into a sofa.

"We are so thankful no one was hurt," she said.

She said the Red Cross and the Salvation Army had set up relief station in the meeting room of town hall within about one hour.

"Most of the residents are in motels now," she said. "And both banks have set up accounts for the victims."

Sizemore said enough clothes have been donated, but they are hoping to collect enough money to help the tenants pay their deposits on new places.

"This community is great about stepping up with help in bad times," she said.

The complex was located in the 700 block of Main Street and is owned by Joe and Evalyn Carstens.

Evalyn Carstens said the family has owned the complex for 55 years.

"Our tenants were more than just renters, they were our friends," Evalyn Carstens said.

Carstens said the apartments were the most affordable in town and came furnished and included utilities. They've made no decision about whether they will rebuild.

"We just are not sure if we want to take on a project like that. We're in our 70s," she said.

She said they would be speaking with their insurance agent and collection other information before deciding exactly what they would do.

"If we re-build, we'll never be able to offer the same kind of affordable prices," she said.

Melanie Mc--Kee, owner of the beauty shop housed in the complex, said they were fortunate because another salon, A Cut Above, had a booth open and offered her people a place.

"It worked out well for us," she said. "I just feel bad for those who lost their homes," she said

According to Carstens, only one person had renters insurance.

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