The bottom floor of the Emerson Manor is dried out, and local authorities have given Anchor Bank, the Hoquiam Senior Center and two other local businesses the go-ahead to move back in and resume operations on Friday.
Charles Wallace, deputy director of Grays Harbor County Emergency Management, said he’s not sure if the tenants will re-open immediately, but now the decision is theirs.
“The tenants, Anchor Bank, Trinkets &Treasures and Hoquiam Shear Artistry have been extremely understanding and patient as the events unfolded and they were displaced,” Wallace said in a press release.
The businesses and senior center are located in the ground floor of the Emerson Manor, a multi-story apartment building in downtown Hoquiam. More than a week ago a fire in the building triggered the sprinkler system. Fire damage was minimal, but water from the sprinker system caused extensive damage and resulted in high bacteria levels. More than 60 residents had to be relocated and are still unable to return.
After about a week and a half of intensive cleaning, sanitizing and drying, air quality and mold spore levels are well within acceptable ranges, Wallace said.
With the bottom floor taken care of, crews will turn their full attention to the upstairs apartments. Work is already under way to dry and repair the building. Wallace said he’s not sure when tenants — many of whom are low-income senior citizens — will be able to move back home.
“… It must also be understood that much work still must be accomplished on the tenant rooms and hallways,” Wallace said. “Tenants were allowed to inspect their rooms this week and determined which personal items would need to be discarded. Many mattresses, pieces of furniture and appliances had to be disposed of due to water damage.”
Anchor Bank has set up the Emerson Manor Assistance Fund to help the tenants replace their damaged and destroyed items. Donations can be made at any Anchor Bank location, and all funds will benefit Emerson Manor residents. Wallace said about $3,800 has been donated so far.
Only monetary donations are being accepted, due to the specific needs and situations of the tenants.
“Thank you all for supporting the tenants,” Wallace said. “More is definitely needed to replace the beds, furniture and personal belongings exposed to water damage.”