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police & fire

35 Displaced By Fire Spend Another Night At Mid-Hudson Civic Center

Some 300 residents following a fire at the Rip Van Winkle Apartment House.
Some 300 residents following a fire at the Rip Van Winkle Apartment House. Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

More than 35 residents of the Rip Van Winkle Apartment House in Poughkeepsie spent a second night at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center on Wednesday, following a fire that cut power to the entire apartment complex.

The City of Poughkeepsie Fire Department initially received a call around 3:40 p.m. Monday, regarding a fire on the seventh floor of the building at 10 Rinaldi Blvd., said Fire Chief Mark Johnson.

When firefighters arrived on scene they found a transformer fire in the basement that was causing the smoke to move up through the building creating smoke and respiratory issues for the occupants, he said.

No serious injuries occurred other than some minor smoke inhalation complainants, Johnson said.

But the damaged transformer and electrical issues have caused officials to cut power to the entire complex until it is safe to restore, leaving some 300 residents homeless.

The complex, which is managed by PK Management, contains 171 apartments. Officials with the management company did not return numerous phone calls regarding when repairs might be complete.

The Red Cross has come to the aid of residents offering hot meals and a cot to sleep on if needed, said Kimmy Venter, director of communications for the American Red Cross Eastern New York Region.

At least 60 residents have signed up and stopped by the Civic Center for meals, showers and to sign-up for aid, but only 35 took advantage of the 150 cots set up for their use, Venter said.

"The community and local organizations and businesses have come out in force to offer help," she said.

Meals have been provided by The Salvation Army, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, and numerous local restaurants.

The Red Cross is prepared to keep the shelter open for a week, and may extend that time if needed, Venter added.

Besides offering the basics, the Red Cross has also been busy with activities for kids, including a pumpkin decorating and a parade on Halloween and organizing transportation to local schools for school-age children that are displaced, she said.

This is a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.

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