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Timber Ridge Apartments rebuilds slowly after massive fire

MOLINE, Illinois-- As crews go door-to-door cleaning out apartments, Heather, the complex manager looks at the work that still needs to be done at Timber Ridge Apartments.

“On this side of the building we`re still scrubbing the air and then it`s cleaning all hard surfaces," she said, touring the complex on Wednesday, Dec. 27, a week after fire displaced 70 residents. "We are also removing carpet and removing some dry wall in the hall where there is water and soot damage. Heather asked WQAD not to print her last name for personal reasons.

Most of the damage is on the west side of the building. Heather says the amount of insulation lost in the fire and cold temperatures has caused another problem.

“This end of the building has been colder and we did have a burst pipe on the end of the building….That has caused a little bit more of an issue,” she says.

A broken water pipe to the boiler knocked out heat for the entire building Tuesday night. Crews were able to turn the heat back on but due to the amount of water that spilled into some of the apartments, crews had to remove existing carpets to avoid water damage.

Out of the 70 families displaced by the fire, more than half were able to come back to their apartments. 16 families still can’t return to Timber Ridge, but the complex has worked to relocate six families.

The remaining 10 have either made housing arrangements themselves or are working with the American Red Cross.

Overall, Heather says this last week has been an emotional ride for everyone involved.

“There's no good time a year to be involved in a house fire…Knowing I got to go home to my family in my house, I felt horrible and emotionally I couldn`t hide it from the residents here.”

She’s not sure when things can return to normal but the complex, she says is inching back to recovery.